/ The Business of Being John

The Business of Being John

Jun 25, 2013

In an exclusive interview, cinematic heartthrob John Abraham shares with us his love for cinema and finding that perfect role.

A mere look at him turns many women’s knees to jelly, and his chilled-out charm has set hearts aflutter worldwide. The multi-faceted actor, who is a philanthropist, animal rights campaigner, foodie and all-around nice guy has a quickfire tête-à-tête with ANOKHI’s Ashanti Omkar.

What were your aspirations as a kid and how did you go about achieving your goals?
I had a great childhood. Contented and playful. I grew up with middle-class values of being honest, valuing excellence in studies and sports and being respectful to my elders. I have been brought up like this. Ambitions came second; first was values. I had dreams for sure, and many of them I have been able to fulfill, by the grace of God.

You have two very distinctive heritages. Do you feel you imbibe the best of both? You're very much a born-and-bred Mumbaikar, we hear.
My mom is an Irani and my dad is a Malayali. But my parents just wanted me to grow up to be a good human being — there were no cultural must-dos. I grew up in Mumbai and it has a distinct flavour of its own, being a very cosmopolitan city. I used to celebrate the Holi and Ganesha festivals with friends from my building. We used to have a blast.

You have an MBA and flourishing business ventures, like your jeans line JA Clothes. Tell us more about that.
I went to Bombay Scottish School and then H.R. College (in Mumbai). More than anything else, I just enjoyed my time while studying. I like to balance my acting career with my business interests, and I take my brand endorsements very seriously. These are part of what I am and not just deals. I give as much attention to doing these ads as I do to films, and I make sure that I give 100 per cent in preparation and in shooting.

Let's talk about your passions. You have many and we'd love to hear about them.
Being fit, bikes, football, traveling — all of these are my passions. I am very much an outdoor person. One of my lesser-known fancies is music. I get my high from listening to some great music I have collected over the years and continue to do so on my travels.

You're very much into health and a well-known foodie. Share some of your favourite dishes, and let all the ladies know whether you can cook!
I do like to cook once in a while; I love veggies. Okra and other green vegetables are my favourite. I don't diet, I just eat healthily.

Since you’re dating one of the most beautiful women in Bollywood, tell us about your path to love with Bipasha Basu, and how the two of you juggle your acting schedules with your relationship.
I am lucky to have her as my girlfriend. Apart from being very attractive she is also a great human being. It was a long wooing period and quite an adventurous one, but I will keep the details of it to myself. (Chuckles.)

You’re one of seven husbands to Priyanka Chopra’s character in the new thriller Saat Khoon Maaf. Tell us more about the film.
After working with Priyanka in Dostana, this was a very different avatar. I play a character called Jimmy Stetson, who is killed by his polyandrous wife. Working with director Vishal Bhardwaj was a real treat.

You look mind-blowing and very muscular in the stills of Force, which comes out this summer. Tell us more.
I loved shooting for Force, which has some great action sequences. I had to become very muscular for this role. It’s a high-action film in which I play the role of a narcotics cop. I have seen the Tamil version, directed by Gautham Menon (Kaakha Kaakha), and I loved the film.

Tell us about the forthcoming film Desi Boyz. I love working with Akshay Kumar. He is a great buddy and we will be acting together in Housefull 2, as well as Desi Boyz. I will also share screen space with Deepika Padukone in both films.

You seem to have impeccable comic timing, so Housefull 2 must have been a blast. What’s your history with the genre, and how do you interact with big casts?
Comedy is an evergreen cinematic technique and I love doing it. Also, my working equation with Akshay is very good. We did Garam Masala together. Fortunately, I have had great working rapports with all my co-actors.

You have worked in international movies like Water, which was very well-received in Canada and the US. Any reminiscences about the film?
I was approached by (director) Deepa Mehta for the role and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Water will always be a special film for me, and it was phenomenally well-received.

You are one of the few Bollywood stars to have delved into the dangerous territory of non-standard roles. You're certainly not type-cast, but do you feel that you've taken risks with your career?
I have done what has appealed to me. I really admire someone like Aamir Khan, who has broken the mould of pigeon-holed Indian film hero, and yet most of the big hits belong to him. I like experimenting with my characters. I find playing safe a bit boring. One may fail with experiments, but I always have the satisfaction of trying something different.

Showing off your sculpted physique has never been something you've been shy about… Why is that?
Karan Johar once told me: “John, don't be apologetic about your physique or looks.” I am trying to follow that advice, but somehow I am ill at ease with just being a good-looker. I am not obsessed with my physicality.

How do you deal with films that don't do well in the box office?
All actors need to deal with box office failures. You do feel bad but then it’s important to learn and move on. Dealing with success can be just as tricky. I just hope that the audiences appreciate the roles I play and feel thankful for the support of fans and cinema-goers.



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