Monday, May 14, 2007

John Abraham on Goal

Presenting you the first ever interview of John Abraham on Goal by IndiaFM’s London correspondent, Devansh Patel in his own words.

There was a time about fifteen years ago, when one of the most fabulously foppish hairstyles in Indian cinema seemed destined for extinction. Remember Rahul Roy in Aashiqui? Thankfully in 2003 the style was back but not alone. It brought a lot of talent with it too, and when the two combined, it gave us John Abraham. Today the tousled locks are replaced with an ascetic, boyish crop. John with a crop? Yes, you heard! The luminary of photography, stage and films has changed his look. He strolls into his make-up van, wears his beanie hat, greets me with his signature smile and says, “Goal is a John Abraham film all the way – hard-hitting and athletic.”

rom Bikes to Babul to Business ventures. You are totally engrossed in whatever you do. Do you have time for all the work or does work take a lot of your time?
I thought I had time for all the work, but I think it works both ways on the weighing scale. I have time for all the work and work too takes a lot of my time. I strangely don’t sleep too much; say about five to six hours a day. And that’s bad. I need that extra one hour of sleep and I’ll be fine. Talking about business ventures, Wrangler has given me the license to start my own brand called ‘John Abraham’ which many of them are aware of now. I’ve also started off a company called ‘Qua’ which means – In sync with. It’s a Greek terminology and for that, I’ve tied up with a company named ‘Mindshare’ which is an international media buying house who technically looks after my work now.

Besides the script, what encouraged you to say ‘Yes’ to the film ‘Goal’?
Very honestly, the script is the real hero. When I read the script I wanted to clap. I remember I was in a flight to Uzbekistan shooting for No Smoking. I landed and called my director Vivek Agnihotri saying, “Vivek, the script is freaking great. If we can just execute what’s given in the script then we have a hit film on our hands.”

Goal being a multi star cast film; do you think it is one film which will showcase the real John Abraham – the tough and the sporty kind?
Well, I just believe that I am a sporty person. I used to captain my school and college football team. India never went anywhere in football but I feel this film is a great opportunity for football stadiums to be used as football fields. It’s an even bigger prospect for cricket pitches to be wiped out in the middle of this grand sport called football. This is the right time to get the sport in because Indians have failed to impress in this year’s cricket world cup. It’s also a great time to encourage youngsters to follow football. Talking about Sporty, Yes, this is John Abraham. The sporty me is John Abraham. So you are going to get a lot of ‘Me’ in this film.

How decisive was the moment when you had to cut the trademark long hair for this film to have a complete new look?
For me, it was just the question of asking whether to cut or not to cut. I remember there was my producer Ronnie Screwvala, my football choreographer Andy Ansah and my director Vivek Agnihotri.Andy came out with a perfect advice. He said that today’s footballers, specially the English Premier League ones have crew cut and short hair. Look at Christiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, etc. So I decided that there was time for change before my audience realises it. But there is some good news. I go back to my lovely long hair in couple of films from now.

Certain incidents in the real life change you completely as a person. Did ‘Kabul Express’ in Afghanistan and ‘Water’ at the Oscars change your perception of filming for ‘Goal’?
No. Not at all! Water has been a benchmark film for me just like JismDhoom were. All these films have been a turning point for me in a lot more ways than one. I have managed to do a balance of what you call a commercial cinema and a different kind of cinema. If I do a Babul and Salaam-E-Ishq, I also do Water and No Smoking And after Goal, I’m doing a Nagesh Kukunoor film. So the idea is that I want people to know that if it’s a John Abraham film, there is bound to be something different. Even if it’s commercial, I want it to be commercially different. As far as Goal is concerned, I want the youth to follow sports and I want to be the face of that particular sport in my country, be it football, athletics or anything.

You've worked with Arshad Warsi before in Kabul Express. How do you get along with him?
Arshad is more of a friend than a co-star. We behave like children when we are with each other. If we have a squabble, we will pull each other’s hair. If we have a problem, we will fire one another. He is a proper prankster and entertains everyone on the sets. Arshad and I share a strange chemistry and I think he is one of my best co-stars and a superb guy.

You will be seen with Bipasha Basu after three years. Madhoshi was your last release together. Have you both taken a deliberate step of not doing many films together?
No. We were not offered anything great together. Bipasha is in great shape right now, the best shape of her life. That's primarily the reason why she was offered the role of a physiotherapist in Goal and I would want to shed light on that this is not a romantic film but a sports film. And even though this is film based on football, Bipasha has a very pivotal role to play.

Goal is a film centred on football. Don't you think that it will appeal to the audiences more in the U.K than in India?
That's exactly what the idea is. We are making sure that the film appeals to the audiences in India. The idea is that if John Abraham rides a bike and if the youth can ride a bike, why can't they play football if John can play? I want football to be recognised in India and our country represents it globally. I've struggled very hard on this game here. I've got shin splints, hurt myself but still tried to push it to the limit to make sure that I get things right. I've done a couple of stunts which kids are going to enjoy when they watch the film. I've made sure that there was no double used for me and my legs. I've done everything myself. So, what you will see in this film is only John Abraham and not his double. I hope every Indian will fell proud after watching Goal.

The grapevine hears that the music of Goal is to be launched at the IIFA Awards in Yorkshire next month. Is it true?
I have no idea about the music launch at the IIFA Awards in Yorkshire, but let me tell you that the music of Goal is brilliant. It's superb, it's outstanding and I was taken by surprise when I heard it. I said that this cannot be Goal. It was more than we asked for. It's the best music in a long time.

How important is it for Hindi films to be showcased at prestigious events like Cannes? Or do you think it's not? I think it's important to have a film showcased at such events so you get a spectrum of audience who come and see what the film is all about. Goal is a film that can appeal to the foreign audience as well and not necessarily the British audience.

You've shot Goal from start to finish in U.K for almost three months. During your stay, did you meet any of the famous footballers?
I haven't met the current footballers but I did meet some of the ex-Arsenal, West Ham and CharltonEnglish Premier League back home but now I follow it even more minutely. I'm totally in love with it. I don't support any clubs but I like individual players such as Christiano Ronaldo, Fabregas, Drogba, Schevchenko, etc. I also adore watching other leagues and players like Ronaldinho, Messi, Beckham, etc. So, I just enjoy the game and love seeing these great players on field.

What was the most difficult moment while shooting with your football choreographer Andy Ansah?
I remember while I was doing my introduction scene in Middlesex with an imaginary club in the film which we call Aston. I was playing with some boys and they were very good at it. My shin splints were at its worst then. I was going through accupuncture and it was snowing that day. The ball kept hitting my shins and I thought that my leg was broken. I just couldn't take it. But Andy makes you practise twenty to thirty times before a shot, and I couldn't tell him that my legs are hurting because he might think that I am making an excuse. So I ignored the pain and carried on my work. Ultimately, it all paid off when Andy told me that I was the only actor among all the footballers who is playing football without a double being used.

What is your Goal in life?
My goal in life is to make sure that as an actor I should appeal to the international audience. For me, it will be a moment of pride and pleasure to be recognized as an Indian and as an actor who is accepted by the world over.

Why should people go and watch Goal when it releases?
As I’ve always told my director that I do not know what this film is going to do, where it’s going to go, etc. But one things sure, it will unquestionably work in the U.K.

What’s your favourite track from the film?
There’s an instrumental of a track called Hulla Bol which is the Southall anthem. It’s an inspirational tune and if we draw similarities, it’s like the Rocky 4’s training montage. There is another song called Dude, don’t mess with me where all the Southall guys are training on. I can’t tell you how good the music is because it’s so damn good.

What’s going to be the parting words for your fans?
I would like to say a big Thank You. They’ve been there with me always, and at all times I’ve mentioned that the audience has forever been my Godfather and my top priority because I know that I’m the only outsider who still exists in the industry because of my audience. I love them all.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Abraham is an amazingly genuine actor. i wish him the very best with the release of Goal.

The trailors look inviting...definatley going to watch it this and the new hair cut Johnny...?? Super HOOOOOOOOT....!xx

Tanvi Soi said...

Hey, John Abraham i am a big fan of yours since i was a child i watched every movie and to all the shootings. I really like your new hair style and it is true nobody is the same as you even if they cut there hair like yours. I hope you fulfill your goal and i watched the movie i bought all of your movies and goal too. I live in Canada but visited India once.
Love, Tanvi Soi
Canada Brampton Ontario

Anonymous said...

dude i love you sexy thing


short hair suits you so much more u luk even more sxcii if thats possible your johnalicious

luv obsessive fans
sway n iks from australia