John Abraham speaks to Manju Ramanan on his forthcoming film Satyamev Jayate that releases on the Indian Independence Day on August 15th!
After Madra Café and Parmanu, you are seen in the very commercial Satyamev Jayate?
I just loved the narration and loved the story. Another important character in the film and we were hoping he would say yes was Manoj Bajpai. He too, like me decided to do the film in a jiffy.
Fitnesss comes naturally to you. Did you have to prepare for the role?
With Milap Zaveri, you can’t prepare for the role. You just go on set and shoot. Manoj as an actor asks a lot of questions usually but with Milap he was glad that he didn’t. We were convinced about the director’s vision and got a film we are proud of. After Manoj’s acclaimed film such as Gangs of Wasseypur and Aligarh and my films such as Madras Café and Parmanu, people didn’t expect us to do a hard core commercial film but Satyamev Jayate has an X factor in it that is not given away in the trailer.
You injured yourself while filming – tell us 5 of your most dare devilry stunts till date?
I had to zip line across two buildings at a height of 150 ft high and the bad guy character cuts the rope and I had to swing into a window pane. I missed the pane and crashed against a wall and fell down a floor. I had to deal with a few glass shrapnel.
In the same film, there was a scene where I had to run through 7 doors and as I approached the last one, there was an old woman, she would have been 103 years old right there and to avoid crashing into her, I crashed into a wall and had three surgeries. I protected my head and had to hit my knee
I have this tennis elbow problem and the scene required me to jump 100 feet into an air bag. My double refused and I had to double up for him. I jumped! On hindsight, I think I was foolish.
Dhoom had a stunt that required me to ride at 24 kms per hour with the camera barely six inches away from me. I did it without a double and we got a great shot!
I learnt this Indonesian art form called Celat which is done with knives. While I went about it training, I didn’t realise that I was injured till I was washing up – my whole body was black and blue and my back had ripped open.
Was there a time ever that you were scared?
When you do any kind of action, you get worried before the shot. There could be the proverbial slip between the cup and the slip. Your heart starts racing before a stunt. It is not easy. There is an element of fear. You can’t be unwell. You can’t be under medication and do stunts. You have to be fully aware.
Do you tend to choose scripts that are realistic?
Fact is stranger than fiction. Real stories attract me. I have picked up some real stories too and my two upcoming films RAW and Batla House are explosive stories. Even if you fabricate a script, you cannot get close to the nuances of a real incident. Comedy is a genre that need not necessarily be realistic. I love comedy. My parents love comedy and it gives me great happiness to see them smile and laugh while watching a film.
When was the last time you took them out to watch a comedy film?
I think around 2008, we were in Philadelphia and we watched Stepbrother. It was obnoxious and funny.
Are your parents worried about your stunts in films?
My mother loves all my films. She just asks me to take care. And my dad watches certain kinds of films only.
Do you revel in your role as an actor or producer?
I feel empowered as a producer but I love being an actor. I can happily coexist in both spaces I feel.
The current time is considered to be a good time for Hindi cinema. How do you see it evolve?
It has evolved but I cannot say it is in a great space. There is a whole bunch of bad cinema that comes out too. So, it makes the good stuff look really good. (Laughs)