Turning producer with Vicky Donor in 2012, in a way, changed the game for actor John Abraham in Bollywood. The theme of Vicky Donor was diametrically opposite of the kind of films, mostly action, John was doing. Madras Café, in which he also starred, released in the very next year and the critics and audience realised his smartness as a producer. It was not only a sleek film but also a sneak peek into John’s latent potential. It was a chance that the mainstream Bollywood filmmaking wasn’t ready to provide him.
We caught up with the actor and he explained the thought process behind turning into a producer.
“I think an actor becomes the prisoner of his own image. When we have those films with fights, bulging muscles and everybody is breaking things or people, you know, I thought of breaking the stereotype and present myself as a thinking actor and producer. It was important to make different choices as producer because now I had that power. With Vicky Donor, Madras Café, Parmanu and Batla House, people understood that thought process and trajectory,” said John.
Elaborating on the significance of image in the Hindi film industry, he said, “I understand that the viewers would want actors to see in their favourite kind of characters. Sometimes action is great but not all the time. So, you have to offer a diverse range to the audience. I had to become a producer to make people think that I could be different as an actor. After becoming producer, I had the power to choose the kind of films I wanted to do as an actor. With JA Entertainment, you know it’s not going to be different with every project.”
He says the emphasis on research makes him different. “Be it Vicky Donor or Parmanu or Batla House, everything was very well researched. For Madras Café, we went through the Jain Commission report. The same is with my next production Sardar Ka Grandson. Attention to detailing has been very important and to convince people that such a thing could actually happen.”
In the last five years through films such as RAW, Pagalpanti and Mumbai Saga, John has been trying to place himself as the actor who could balance out and out comedy and hardcore actioners. So far, he seems to be successful in his pursuit.