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John Abraham: The Next Salman Khan

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Monday, February 26, 2007
Talk about John Abraham and the image of Bipasha Basu will flash in your mind. Although he is better known as the sizzling Bengali beauty's beau, this time he has made a mark as an actor too with his superb performance in Deepa Mehta's controversial film Water. Although a bit late, John is finally getting the recognition due to him as an actor.

Recently, we cornered him for a chat on his latest movie, and wanted to know all about his role in Water. "I play the role of a Calcutta-educated youngster of the late-1930s', who falls in love with a widow (played by Lisa Ray) from a widow-house - a very sacrilegious act in those times and it obviously earns him a lot of flak, says our handsome hero," he says.

Interstingly, Deepa made John go through a lot of training to essay this role convincingly, but the actor has no qualms about it. "Yes I did. I had to undergo a month-long training workshop to deconstruct my entire personality, so to speak. As in, I had to unlearn the way I walk, the accent with which I speak, the way I sit, everything. I also had to learn Sanskrit shlokas and to play a flute, since the character demanded so. All this made the experience of shooting for Water certainly different from the rest because we hardly go through such rigorous training for any other films nowadays," he confesses happily.

And having had to utter a lot of lines on Gandhian philosophy, John is somewhat a changed man these days and feels that the Gandhian philosophy is God's own philosophy and he's not saying this for effect or for promoting the film. He says that sincerely believes in Gandhiji's teachings and tries to inculcate them in his life in small ways, as and when he can. That's great indeed.

Did John find any similarity while acting in Water and Baabul as both the films deal with the problems related to widowhood, albeit in different eras and circumstances? Listen to what our macho hero has to say on this. "I found that superficially the treatment may seem to have changed but the core attitude remains the same. The society still looks upon widows with disdain and as someone inauspicious just as they did a century back. The only heartening aspect is that the situation has undergone a bit of change in the urban society but unfortunately, the future still looks bleak for the rural widows, who are still subjected to unfair treatment. I just hope that the film brings about a shift in perspective about widows, for the good."

John says that he is excited as Water is all set to go on to the Oscars and this is going to be the first time he would be treading on the red carpet there. "Undoubtedly I'm excited; it feels good and I thank God for being so kind to me. I do plan to attend the function if my dates get scheduled." He has also made up his mind on what to wear on that great day -- an achkan. Yeah, John, you are right in your choice as you would be representing India at the Oscars.

Did you know that John is associated with PETA and the Jimmy Carter foundation called Habitat. Apart form that, he does his bit for animals along with his mother. However, he is too shy to divulge much about. As for the adoption, it's still in quite a nascent stage and he'd prefer to talk about it only after it advances a bit but yes, it is certainly happening.

Coming back to his future projects, we ask John if he is making a conscious shift towards off-beat roles, with films like Water and Draupadi. John vehemently denies this and says, "Nothing of that sort. I'm doing purely commercial cinema and picking roles that excite me. As for Draupadi, I've not yet been confirmed for that project though Bipasha is in it for sure. But yes, I'd love to do the film for it's been long since me and Bips worked together. But yes, I'm done with my bit of Dhoom-type roles. As an actor, I feel it's time to move ahead."

After Water John's hands are full and he's doing three films - Aashayein with Nagesh Kukunoor; Happy Birthday with Sriram Raghavan and a film called No Smoking, which is about a guy who is a chain smoker and who quits the habit after his wife leaves him due to this habit. Apart from that, the shooting of Goal is underway and that's one film that he's looking forward to because he loves playing football and he gets to remove his shirt on-screen after a long time!

So, is John aiming at becoming the next Salman Khan, trying to remove one's shirt at the drop of a hat? This time, John refuses to make a comment! A wise guy indeed! 

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