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Why John Abraham still travels by rickshaw

Last updated on: August 09, 2018 09:34 IST

'My middle class upbringing has shaped me up like that.'
'I am not saying actors are bad -- they are lovely people -- but I don't know which world they come from.'
'They come with their baggage, this aura...'

Photograph: Kind courtesy John Abraham/Instagram

In 2007, during an interview, John Abraham had described an incident about children throwing stones at a dog, and how bad he felt about it. He stopped his car to save that dog.

Eleven years later, the innocence still exists.

"Someone asked me, 'John, will you dance at a wedding?' I said no because I will not get sleep at night," John tells Rediff.com's Patcy N.

 

Have you lost weight? 

Yes, for RAW.

I have 18 different looks in the film (he immediately calls for his cellphone to show us one of the looks), so I had to lose weight for that.

I had to wear wigs.

I had to be clean shaven, and also have a crew cut.

The looks are created by Preetisheel Singh.

I had to sit for four-five hours for make-up every day. We would start at 4 am, and get ready by 9 am.

Then, it would take an hour to remove the make-up and the silicon.

This is the first time I am doing something so extreme. It has turned out fantastic.

I have shot the opening and the closing of the film. In total, we have completed 40 percent of the film.

After I finish the promotions of Satyamev Jayate, I will shoot for a month-and-a-half for RAW. It will release next year.

IMAGE: John Abraham and Diana Penty in Parmanu.

Parmanu is a hit.

Parmanu is still running after 75 days.

Many trade people told me that films don't run so long; 11 weeks is a long time.

I am a happy producer, but I went through my own issues.

With Parmanu, I can thank the audience and the media -- because you supported me, I think it paid off.

I never thought the film would run for so long.

I don't believe in the numbers of the first two days (of the release) because that's very deceitful.

There are films that do Rs 100 crores in the first three days, but by Monday, they are out.

The only thing you can tom-tom about is 'I open so big', but the audience feels cheated. They spend Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 for this crap.

So I don't believe in the opening day numbers.

I believe on the sustainability of the film and the word-of-mouth respect that your film gets.

Parmanu's success is organic. It had only five days of marketing. The best publicity for Parmanu was the film itself.

Let me explain the math of it (marketing).

There is something called P&A. 'P' is Print and 'A' is Advertisement.

It takes Rs 20,000 a print on an average, so you spend Rs 4 crore to Rs 5 crore (Rs 40 million to Rs 50 million on the prints, depending on the number of screens.

After that, you should not spend more than Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 10 million to Rs 15 million) on television marketing, or print ads.

Interviews are important. But going to 84 cities and dancing in the malls will not help.

On the first day first show, when audiences watch the film, they decide whether they want to watch it or not.

IMAGE: John Abraham and Manoj Bajpayee in Satyamev Jayate.

Aamir Khan goes all out with the marketing; he does it for six months.

I deeply respect Aamir. He is one of the few people, whose films I look forward to.

I want people to do that with my films too.

Aamir does the right thing -- he builds curiosity, stories and an experience around his film.

He will not speak about it, but he will come out with his look way in advance. That is great marketing.

My problem is coming on 20 television shows, going to 70 cities with an entourage of 50 assistants...

Will you stop doing this?

No. Going to strategic cities like Delhi is important. But taking an entourage just because you are an actor...

Do you know how much we spend just on the entourage? The bodyguards, make-up man, his assistant, the manager, the manager's assistant...

Go alone na, why do you need an entourage?

Are you feeling the pinch now that you have become a producer?

No. I have never had a driver.

I never had a boy on the sets.

I travel with one or two people.

But that is also my mental make-up. I believe less is more.

I cannot travel with 40 people.

I cannot eat with 40 people serving me. I like to serve myself. My make-up man makes me a cup of tea.

My middle class upbringing has shaped me up like that.

I relate to my people more than I relate to actors.

I am not saying actors are bad -- they are lovely people -- but I cannot relate to them.

I don't know which world they come from.

They come with their baggage, this aura...

Someone asked me, 'John, will you dance at a wedding?'

I said no because I will not get sleep at night; it's not my style.

What I am doing is not necessarily right or wrong, it's just my point of view.

I like travelling alone, and driving my own car.

This morning, when I came here, I didn't have a car, so I came by rickshaw. I don't have a problem with that.

IMAGE: John with 'everyday people'. Photograph: Kind courtesy John Abraham/Instagram

What was the rickshaw-wallah's reaction when he saw you?

He was okay at first, and then he kept looking behind. Then, when people started approaching, he went 'vroom' -- he became John Abraham!

I don't travel by rickshaw to prove a point, but because it is comfortable.

Today, I have worn shoes because of the photoshoots. Otherwise, I wear chappals.

It's too much of maintenance to look in a certain way.

You are on social media.

I don't know how long I will last on social media.

I am not good at it because I can't sit on the potty and say, 'Hi, today I am on the potty.'

Patcy N / Rediff.com