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Thread: Here’s looking at John!
07-23-2009, 12:21 PM #1
Here’s looking at John!
John Abraham’s career is going to be among the easiest to follow in all of Bollywood.
Henceforth, everything will be ‘before Dostana’ or ‘after New York’. I cannot remember which film he made before these two back-to-back hits.
And, when I asked him, John paused to think like he was resting in between sets of a workout, then replied, “Goal.” This was a forgettable experience in November 2007, yes, the lovely Bipasha Basu notwithstanding. Then came Dostana a year later.
When Karan Johar was preparing John for homosexuality on the beaches of Miami, in his majestic way he told the hunk, “I want to remind people what you look like.” And he did. People are still talking about John rising out of the heaving waters in those tiny yellow trunks. A scene, even without the dramatic background of KJo’s film, that screamed, “This is John Abraham and what he looks like in his critical self.”
Aditya Chopra, on the other hand, was more restrained. At the start of New York, he warned the actor, “People will stop looking at you, they will start looking at your performance.” He was right.
The audience has appreciated John’s performance, perhaps for the first time, and Bollywood now has a strange smile of respect for him that says, “We have to admit, that was nice.”
I picked up the phone to find out how John was taking this. He’s in London, doing a script workshop on Abbas Tyrewala’s film 1800-Love, in which his heroine is the director’s wife Pakhi. The film starts a week later. And it pretty much ties John up till September. “This is a time for introspection,” he told me. “It’s easy to get swayed with two films doing well back-to-back.
But more important is to realise what got me here and to watch my steps from now on. I feel a sense of completion as an actor. This is a visual medium, and you have to look right for it; but when you also perform right, then you have everything on your side. And thereafter it’s all about selecting the correct film.”
What he’s gone and done is raised the bar for himself. “From now on it’s going to be difficult to let anyone down... especially myself,” said John. But, simple Bandra boy that he is, he credits God and his audience for his new success. “It’s a give and take relationship,” he explained, “the audience connects with the John Abraham in their lives, I remind them of their own struggles, and looking at me – they know there’s bound to be a pay-off.”
He admits that before Dostana, he was like a horse with blinkers that just kept its head down and worked. No wonder the industry often ridiculed him.
“But there was reason behind the ridicule,” he protested, “constructive criticism always has a reason. I didn’t have to try hard to better myself, but I had to work hard on my performance.” Yet, he believes that people had to see New York to realise what he had been upto earlier in films like Jism, Aetbaar, Baabul and Dhoom. “Going back to my films that hadn’t worked, it made people think, I had done it even then – but they hadn’t noticed,” John said.
It is true. And he’s grateful that New York has created a new space for him in Bollywood. But he’s not into competing with anyone for a leading position. His fans don’t consider him the No. 1, 2 or 3 actor, to them he is just the John Abraham! “We are all competitors,” he agreed, “but I have no sense of competition outside, my competition is within, I’m trying to better myself in my own space.”
In a way, that’s a wise thing to do, because John Abraham will always have an audience. He has a loyal following. He’s the only actor in Bollywood I know who has young girls telling him, “You did well in your last film.” And old ladies smirking, “You’re hot!”
07-23-2009, 12:30 PM #2
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07-24-2009, 12:39 PM #3
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