Tony’s Xclusive Interview with John Abraham
We heard that you came back from Afghanistan quite ill, how are you feeling now?
I was in hospital for a bit with typhoid but now I am fine and kicking!
Are you happy with the way your career has been progressing in the last few years?
No actor can or should ever be satisfied. There’s always so much left to do and explore. Look at the West, actors
always get to dabble with diverse roles, breaking the mould and growing with every experience.
Having said that, there has been a definite growth in me as an actor and the industry has also been very
patient with me. I’m happy with the work I’m being offered and its acceptance by the audience but this is only
the beginning. I want to do more. I have an interesting line-up of films in 2006.
What makes you happier, critical or commercial success?
It has to be both – commercial success implies acceptance by your fans and audience, which is crucial. It also means that everyone who’s made the film has gained. Critical success is heartening and encouraging because you know your
work has bagged appreciation and accolades by a respected section of media persons who understand cinema.
Out of your last few releases, which has given you the greatest satisfaction?
Difficult question – I’ve enjoyed most of my films. I’m not apologetic about anything. Every film has been a different experience and has taught me something.
How satisfied are you with the way ‘Taxi No. 9211’ has turned out?
I am really happy with the film. It’s unconventional and yet it’s commercially entertaining. It’s the sort of film that a universal audience base will enjoy. Unlike many films that go on and on, this one’s about two hours in running time.
It’s also the first time I’ve worked with a talented actor like Nana Patekar. We had a great time.
What attracted you to the film?
Various factors: the screenplay, its intended treatment, the director and working with a new banner and set of actors.
As an actor, I never want to get typecast or be repetitive.
Is ‘Taxi No. 9211’ a conventional commercial film?
It depends what you call a commercial role and movie. It’s very subjective. In ‘Zinda’ and ‘Dhoom’, both commercial films,
I had no leading lady and no songs! But in ‘Taxi No. 9211’ I have both – songs and a leading lady!
So there you go – it’s fully commercial!
Who do you think it will appeal to the most?
It has universal appeal – it is a very engaging, slick and crisply edited film. Anybody interested in ‘commercial entertainment’ with a difference will enjoy the film.
What was the biggest challenge of acting in this film?
I guess the challenge was in the portrayal of a character I haven’t essayed before. I’ve tried doing something
new with every film.
Did you learn anything new during the making of this movie?
Like I mentioned, every movie is a learning experience. This was the first time I worked with Milan (Luthria),
Nana Patekar and Sameera (Reddy). Every time you work with new people, the learning curve goes up.
Also, when you watch ‘Taxi No. 9211’ you’ll realise that it’s a very interestingly crafted film, which is as commercial
as it gets, yet very differently treated and tackled, by Bollywood standards. That’s what the audience
wants these days. It’s difficult to classify it in a particular genre.
Can you tell us about your forthcoming films?
After ‘Taxi No.9211’, which releases later this month, I have Deepa Mehta’s ‘Water’ and another wonderful film called
‘Kabul Express’, all of which I am looking forward to. I also have Nikhil Advani’s ‘Salaam-E-Ishq’, Ravi Chopra’s
‘Babul’ and Sriram Raghavan’s ‘Happy Birthday’. I am choosing my films very carefully.
‘Water’ won rave reviews in Canada. Right?
Not too many people in India have seen it. And I didn’t tom-tom about it. It’s a beautiful film and the reaction from the
all-White audience in Canada was overwhelming. It was nice to be recognised there. I enjoyed doing ‘Water’, especially because it reaches a global audience through an Indian theme.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t like the smell of it!
There were quite a few untrue rumours about you last year, have there been any this year?
Rumours are a professional hazard and I’ve learnt to live with them. As long as your near and dear ones know
what’s true, rumours don’t matter.
Any message for your UK fans?
(Smiles) Thanks for your love! You really mean a lot to me! I hope I have your support this year and in the times
to come as well!