In Bollywood, You Can Either Be An Action Hero, Romantic Hero or a Dancing Hero: John Abraham
Action and John Abraham are synonymous with each other. He has created a space of his own when it comes to action. Force 2will be John’s fourth action film in a row, but the action in all the four films is different from each other. John loves being called an action hero. He doesn’t mind being typecast. He believes in ‘taking advantage of it,’ he tells us. Sitting in his sunny office, I caught up with the actor. Read on…
Your last few roles have also been action-oriented. Coincidence?
Because of my physicality, action comes naturally to me. That’s why any filmmaker’s safest bet in this genre would be John Abraham. In a way, most of my recent films have me doing action. But all of them are different kinds of action. Look at Welcome Back, which is very over-the-top commercial, masala action. Rocky Handsome was hand-to-hand, raw action. Dishoom is more stylised and Force will introduce action of another level in Bollywood.
Is action your most-loved genre then?
No. I love doing comedy. It has always been that way. If you see my track record, all my comedies have worked. Whether it’s Housefull 2, Dostana, Desi Boyz or evenWelcome Back. They have all been superhits. There’s always the risk of being typecast but you can take advantage of being typecast as well (smiles). That isn’t wrong, right? After Dishoom, so many people messaged me calling me the last action hero which makes me feel good in a way. If you make an action film, with an element of comedy, then it will be a sure-shot success.
But it is difficult to do action in all the films, right?
With Force 2, we’ve upped the action quotient. But it’s difficult to keep upping the game with each film. There are cars flying but at the end, it’s that one man with a cigarette in his mouth saying, ‘Go ahead, make my day’, ‘This is real’, or ‘I’ll be back’. Action is here, in the eyes. The audience sniffs that out. The audience knows that if I turn back and I look, this guy will hammer now. In Bollywood, you can either be an action hero, romantic hero or a dancing hero.
In Hollywood, actors can stick to one genre whereas here, one has to do everything. Comment.
Here, if you do action, even if you are bloody good at it, people will say, ‘Arre, sirf action hi karta hai’. For example, in my career, I have done slice-of-life films, dramas comedies. I have had to balance it out. More than the genre, the bigger issue with me is that I am wearing my physicality like an albatross around my neck. That is very overpowering. In our country, you don’t judge an action hero for the action he does, but for everything else.
That’s extremely wrong and unfair. I feel we must be accepting of this. I can say this on record that the longest lasting heroes will always be action heroes. Romantic heroes will come and go. If there’s someone, you will tear his poster someday and put another romantic hero’s poster. Their audiences move on, they are floating audiences. Action heroes always have fixed audiences. Mark my words — everybody who has watched Force will come to watch Force 2. We have a really strong market. So it doesn’t matter how you get typecast, what matters is how you choose films. I will always have that mix.
Do you think action has become a bastardised term in Bollywood today?
I don’t know if it’s become bastardised. True action heroes must be given their due credit. Honestly, there are only one or two of us. I’m not saying that it’s this fight of action heroes versus everyone else. I have danced in many of my films and I enjoy doing that. I danced my heart out, but there’s a difference. I dance like a hero, not like a dancer. A hero should be big, larger-than-life. Action heroes possess that sense of presence which is why I enjoy what I do. I wish there are more.
You enjoy doing serious films like No Smoking and Madras Cafe too.
Yeah, I get such offers everyday. But there’s a reason why I havent been able to do something in that space for quite sometime. I haven’t got the right script. My favourite film according to my understanding has been No Smoking. You see very few films like that. With me, it’s been like this from the beginning. If the trend says something, trust John Abraham to do exactly the opposite. Abhishek (Bachchan) told me I have looked my best in Dishoom. Now 20 films will come to me which will require me to have this look. Will I do them? The answer’s no. I am telling you today itself. I wll probably do a romantic film, you never know. I will always do something out of the ordinary to get extraordinary films.
Is that why you turned producer?
The biggest reason why I turned a producer is because I didn’t see films being made which I wanted to see. Someone had to produce them which is why I’m here. I have a lot of respect for Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Sajid Nadiadwala. I would love to act for them but as a producer, I feel there are certain kind of films that I want to make, even if they fail. It’s important that these films are still made.