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'I never give up'

By Jahnavi Patel
Last updated on: July 26, 2016 17:31 IST
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'Like Stallone has his Rocky and Rambo, Matt Damon has his Bourne, Schwarzenegger has Terminator, John Abraham has his Force.'

Powerful words from John Abraham.

John Abraham is running a high fever, and he has just the medicine for himself -- hitting the gym!

The actor, who treats fitness like religion, is ready with a genre that he loves -- action, and Dishoom!

Directed by Rohit Dhawan, Dishoom costars Varun Dhawan and Jacqueline Fernandez.

John tells Jahnavi Patel/ Rediff.com more about the film, and the movies he's loved being a part of.

 

John Abraham

Photograph: John Abraham/Instagram

Is Dishoom the space you like as far as the genre is concerned?

Yes, this is the space I enjoy watching.

Can we expect a Dishoom franchise?

I think Dishoom is a very young franchise.

The director is young, his thought and projection is young. It's a very contemporary film. I think it's going to fly with the youngsters.

Only a couple of films, like Force, can be made a franchise. Like Stallone has his Rocky and Rambo, Matt Damon has his Bourne, Schwarzenegger has Terminator, John Abraham has his Force.

Dishoom could go into franchise but it's all about the economics, how the film does. If the film doesn't do well, the producer wouldn't want to make it into a franchise.

 

John Abraham and Varun Dhawan

IMAGE: Varun Dhawan and John Abraham in Dishoom

How was your experience working with Varun Dhawan and Saqib Saleem?

Varun and I have known each other for years...I think since I did Desi Boyz with Rohit (Dhawan, Varun's older brother and the director of Dishoom).

We get along so well off screen that we translate that to on-screen chemistry. You will see how comfortable we are with each other's skin, literally, even in trunks (the last scene of the trailer where John and Varun are wearing only the orange trunks) (laughs).

Saqib, Varun, Rohit and I got along like a house on fire.

Varun will tell you that he never felt like he was working with a senior. He has done multi-hero films and he realises that sometimes things are right or wrong.

Saqib is a real darling.

Why did you agree to Dishoom?

I said yes to Dishoom because of Rohit Dhawan. Since I did Desi Boyz with him, I know his potential as a director.

If Rohit had offered a script that I didn't like, I would have still done it.

Fortunately, Dishoom is a fantastic film because Rohit concentrates not on the proposal but on the story that he wants to tell. It's relevant. A cricketer getting kidnapped is not something unheard of today; it is a possibility that can happen.

Rohit has created these two cops who transform these problems.

Kabir Shergil is a no-nonsense cop, always in a bad mood because he has been dumped by his girlfriend. He doesn't want anyone around, who can mess with his brain.

He meets the guy, who does all the wrong things.

How they get close and how their relationship grows throughout the film is what Dishoom is about.

 

John Abraham and Varun Dhawan

IMAGE: John Abraham and Varun Dhawan in Dishoom

What kind of action will be seen in Dishoom?

Dishoom is not specifically an action film. It's a mix of everything -- action, romance, comedy, song and dance.

There were times when Varun wanted to do something his way and Rohit would say no. For example, without hearing the script and based on just the characterisation, I told Rohit I don't want to smoke, since it's not good.

He said, 'No bro, the character smokes and it's very important to the film.'

When you see the film, you will understand that the smoking is relevant from the first to the last frame.

Of course, smoking is not so cool and we don't propagate it, but sometimes you have to play certain characters.

Akshaye Khanna will be seen in a film after almost three years. What was it like working with him in Dishoom?

Akshaye Khanna is one of the best actors of our generation. It was an honour and pleasure working with him.

I know he has been off the screen for a long time but I think each actor has got a life cycle where he goes up, comes down, stays out and then comes back. Akshaye is up again as Dishoom is going to reintroduce him.

We got along really well. He is quiet, reserved and a very nice soul. We have something in common -- both of us are half Parsi.

 

John Abraham

Photograph: John Abraham/Instagram

What does fitness mean to you?

I do it out of passion, not to show off my six packs. I have maintained my physique from my first film.

It's not a conscious effort, to look a certain way. I do it because when I talk to people they understand and know what I am talking about. If I am talking about a certain diet, I can substantiate it with actual research. So, it's not that I am speaking in the air. People see that it's a passion that comes from inside me.

Fitness is a religion for me because I am pretty much agnostic. So what do I believe in? Where do I pray? I pray in the gym. I pray to this god called the body, which each one of you must worship for yourself.

The problem in our industry is everybody tries to have six packs and nothing else. You must have a consistent physique, and a consistent lifestyle.

What keeps you motivated when you are having a tough time?

My biggest talent is that I never give up. I am very self-driven. 

I take criticism constructively but there is a difference between constructive criticism and people who hit below the belt.

It is an open forum for those on the internet. A lot of the criticism comes from an audience without a face or a name. And when you are faceless, you become the bravest person around.

Social media is very powerful, I have a lot of respect for it, but I also think it has made men less of men.

How do you see your journey in Bollywood as an actor?

I am learning everyday.

There are certain films that were very special to me and in terms of performance, I hold them very close to my heart, like Madras Café, New York, Taxi and Jism.

It's not about me performing better with every film. Certain directors directed me very well.

Like Aanand L Rai recently said, there are no good or bad actors, there are good or bad directors. And that's a fact.

Have you signed Hawa Singh?

No, I haven't signed Hawa Singh. I have met the family, and was offered the film but I haven't signed it.

People ask me if I am nervous when a film releases. I feel nervous when I sign a film. When a film releases, what can you do then? I have to be very sure before I sign a film. That's why I haven't signed a film after Force.

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Jahnavi Patel / Rediff.com in Mumbai