Blessed with Greek God looks, dimpled cheeks and oodles of charm, John Abraham makes women go weak on their knees. Stepping out of the modelling world, John took Bollywood by storm with his hot body and convincing acting skills. Whether it was his villainous role as Kabir in ‘Dhoom’, feigning gay act as Kunal in ‘Dostana’ or an extremist’s portrayal as Samir Sheikh in ‘New York’, John has repeatedly broken the myth that models can’t act.
In an exclusive interview with Swati Chaturvedi of Spicezee.com on her chat show Kahiye Janab, John talks about his B-town innings and the love of his life – the sultry Bipasha Basu.
Here are the excerpts:
Swati: John Abraham, welcome to ‘Kahiye Janab’. Tell me, what’s the most boring thing in Indian cinema these days?
John: Thanks. Okay, the most boring thing about actors is when we talk about ourselves and our films. We are accustomed to hearing praises, something which is quite wrong.
Swati: Why so? Is it because of any insecurity or that feeding one’s ego is wrong?
John: It’s a combination of lot many things. I come from a regular background. My parents are very much grounded and most of the people around me do not hail from Bollywood. Their honest criticism – either good or bad - keeps me grounded. Unfortunately, lots of yes-men surround Bollywood actors.
Swati: Before getting into the film industry, you were a model with no connection to the Tinsel Town. However, in Bollywood, you find that lineage works...
John: It’s like nepotism. But we can’t point fingers at it as such because there are good actors in this lineage system as well. One thing I should say that the way they have accepted me in the industry, nobody did in the modelling world. I still remember, when I went on the ramp for the first time and asked a senior model whether I should turn right or left on the runway, he said – ‘Do we have to call traffic police for you?’
Even so, I have had to prove myself with each film. ‘Jism’ was a hit but people called its success a fluke. ‘Dhoom’ became a huge hit but people said that John just drove bikes in it. Then there was ‘Taxi 9211’, ‘Garam Masala’, ‘Zinda’, ‘Dostana’ and ‘New Yok’. If ‘Dostana’ was more about body, ‘New York’ was more about acting.
Swati:If we see your career graph – bikes, babes and body – it seems you have deliberately branded yourself in a particular image.
John: Very true – it is a right observation. I have positioned myself in the industry that way. During my younger years, whenever I watched films, there was hardly any actor who I emulated. Today, I think I have reached a position where I can be a role model to my target audience, which is anywhere between sixteen to thirty years of age.
Swati: So that is why John is always associated with bikes, babes and body…
John: I used to like motorcycles from age five and ‘Dhoom’ became the right film for me to fully express and experience that. It was Sylvester Stallone’s ‘Rocky IV’ which inspired me into body-building.
Swati: You were recently involved in a bike accident case too.
John: Yes, there was a verdict against me and I went to the High Court. I am a law abiding citizen and feel that even if one is in trouble, one should not stop from helping others.
Swati: Million dollar question, with cheating and infidelity all around, how come John and Bipsaha are so stable in relationship?
John: First of all, Bipasha and I do not indulge in public display of affection. Neither do we attend functions together nor do we call on each other regularly. We don’t go to each other’s film sets and that is what keeps a sense of excitement in any relationship. We like spending time together at home with friends.
Swati: Do you feel already married?
John: I don’t want to feel married. If that stage comes, then I will be in a real big trouble. Whenever people ask me why we don’t get married, I say that I am happy and excited in the present state of my relationship.
Swati: In Bollywood, the so called brand couples – Saifeena (Saif and Kareena) and Abhi-Ash seem to be cashing in on their relationships.
John: Bipasha and I have consciously made it a point that our relationship should not be a new object in market. There have been times when we were going through a rough phase; people wrote good things about us and when we were really happy there were reports of our break-up…
Swati: How do you see yourself with Bipasha ten years down the line?
John: I don’t know. We both are strong individuals. But one thing is for sure; if we leave, it won’t be for another partner.
Swati: What do you like the most in Bipasha?
John: Unlike her Bollywood bombshell image, Bipasha is very simple. She is like a homemaker; she looks after her parents and sister. She is like a son in the family.
Swati: Bipasha once said on our show that John inspired her to be in her best shape.
John: Yes, I once gifted a treadmill to her, saying that if you want to be in this industry, run for your life and she took it sportingly and everyone can see the results!
Swati: What’s the most romantic thing Bipasha has done for you?
John: She likes candle light dinners. Probably, I am not that romantic, I am more on the practical side. For me, romance is going on a long drive on a gypsy or a bike.
Swati: You have also worked for PETA…
John: Yes it is because when I see an animal in pain, I feel like crying.
Swati: How do you got into this fabulous shape to start with?
John: It requires a lot of discipline. Let me tell you that I ran like a horse which wears blinkers in a race.
Swati: What’s the size-zero and six-pack craze all about? Don’t you think that people in Bollywood should take some responsibility vis-à-vis these fads?
John: It’s all rubbish, it’s stupidity. Six-pack is the biggest myth. Models starve to get size zero and six-pack. There is a scientific way to go about it. I myself have homemade food which includes bajra and jowar roti, dal, palak, methi and rajma. I eat egg whites a lot. Even during shoots, I do not skip my meals. I am a teetotaller, neither do I drink, nor do I smoke.
Swati: In ‘Dostana 2’, do you and Abhishek take your relationship to its logical conclusion?!
John: (Smiles) ‘Dostana 2’ is so hilarious. All I can say at this stage is that ‘Dostana 2’ is a great film.
Swati: Homosexuality exists in Bollywood but why is it not openly accepted?
John: Leave alone homosexuality, we Indians are the biggest racists. Even today, we hanker after white skin. About homosexuality, I don’t think anybody should be punished. We are too opinionated and it really hurts me.
Swati: Talking about fairness, most of the Bollywood stars endorse fairness products. How far is it ethical?
John: Good question. First when I was approached to endorse a fairness product, I denied it. Actually if you see the advert, it does not talk about making your skin fair. All it says is that it removes blemishes. We don’t use emotional reasons like if you become fair, you will get a good match or you will become a beauty queen etc. Talking about the products which I endorse, I have faith in my brands. I want to be the right product fit for my audiences.
Swati: How do you want to be known in life?
John: I want John Abraham to be known as a good actor.
Swati: What’s next, after acting?
John: Right now, I am producing my films. I am learning a lot from directors like Nishikant Kamat, Abbas Tyrewala and Kabir Khan… probably I will get into directing films after ten years.
Adapted by: Aman Kanth