Pain suffering and bereavement bring out the best in an actor. Madhubala and Meena Kumari shot their best work Mughal-e-Azam and Pakeezah, respectively, when they were dying.
Shammi Kapoor's wife Geeta Bali died when he was shooting Teesri Manzil (the song 'Tumne Mujhe Dekha' was shot just 'daze' after Shammi's beloved's death). And Suneel Darshan's Jaanwar which many believe to be Akshay Kumar's best films was shot while his father was terminally ill.
John Abraham shot Aashayein while both his parents were ill, and in hospitals at different times. And John, as any one including Bipasha will tell you, lives for his parents. Recalling the harrowing period John says, "Illnesses in the family do scare you a lot. I really believe I'm a family person. My parents are the most important people to me. Their health is very important to me."
But John learnt to alchemize the pain. Sorrow was used for creative satisfaction. "Looking with or without regret is honestly not my space. I'd much rather would look ahead. I believe there's a third axis beyond contentment and regret, and that's my axis. I can't have a two-dimensional attitude to my work. I'll always look and find the third dimension"
Brand John Abraham continues to do well in spite of the man choosing to lie really low in recent months. "I believe after a point one's name and the brand acquires a life of its own regardless of failure or success. That's what's happened to me. People have started believing in the kind of person I am and the clothes I wear. I believe I contribute a lot to my brand, as much as it contributes to me. My clothes lineup is going great. The John Abraham clothes line has grown by word of mouth. We've created an artificial scarcity for my clothes. It's a very niche brand with only seven stores across the country. It's like the 'True Religion' brand which you'd have a hard time finding even at Harrods. I do not want to go to the masses with my clothes lineup. It's a choice I've made."
In spite of the failure of Anurag Kashyap's No Smoking, John says he'll continue to seek unusual roles. "Conforming isn't my cup of tea. How boring is life if you conform. And how dull life would be if all I did was chase success. Sure, I want it. But I also want to take the untrodden path. It's the deviations that make my life exciting. Some of what I did last year might not have worked. But the fact that there was debate about them was enough for me. At least the kind of films I do make people curious."
However, the No Smoking experience has cautioned John about inept marketing. "I realize 'my' kind of cinema needs to be a little more commercial. You've to position your product properly. Products fail because they're sold to the wrong audience. No Smoking was sold to the wrong audience. My confidence level in my kind of cinema remains totally unshaken. I can't allow every opinion and every review devastate me. I need to have confidence in what I do. The fact that I've gotten where I am is proof that I'm on the right track. I believe I need to do more about my kind of cinema. And Aashayein is my kind of cinema."
He has just completed a long schedule of Karan Johar-Tarun Mansukhani's Dostana in Miami; "Priyanka Chopra is my co-star in Karan's film. She's a good girl, always a pleasure to work with. As for Abhishek, I really enjoy working with him and his father. And the director is Tarun Mansukhani a new boy with plenty to say."