For John Abraham, family comes first
Of late John Abraham has been almost completely out of the public glare. Ask him why and he lets out a deep sigh - one of relief.
"It's not as if I'm being a recluse or anything. My father was unwell. We were in and out of the hospital all the time. For that period nothing else mattered to me...nothing at all."
"While he was ill I couldn't think of anything else. Even all those rumours of my so-called break-up with Bipasha just passed over my head."
Bipasha Basu was by John's side throughout the tough time when his father was in hospital.
"She's very family-oriented, just like me. To both of us family comes first. Then just when my dad recuperated my mom broke her leg. So it's been all about loving my parents," says John.
The doomsday predictions have been proved wrong, at least about this Bollywood relationship.
Says John, "Isn't that so with all speculations about relationships? Only the two people in the relationship know the truth. Everyone else makes wild speculations, the wilder the spicier."
He recently worked in two unusual films. "The unusual has become usual for me," says John. "People expect a certain kind of unpredictability in my work."
"And both my films 'No Smoking' and 'Goal' move away from the safe zone. But when have I ever been 'safe' in the safe zone?"
In Anurag Kashyap's "No Smoking", John plays a chain smoker. "Again it isn't the kind of film that you'd call conventional. I don't mind dancing around trees."
"But I'd rather embrace the trees than run around them," says John drawing a sharp reference to his role as an environmentalist in Deepa Mehta's "Luna".
John reverts to his current favourite filmmaker. "I'm very, very fond of Anurag Kashyap's approach to filmmaking. I seek out directors like Anurag Kashyap and Sriram Raghavan. I don't really care to walk the trodden path. So what if I'm not working with all the bigwigs of the entertainment industry?"
"The thrill of working with a talent that gets discovered while working with you is something else. It's like finding a new map to a treasure chest. I saw the spark in Sriram long back and have supported him into making the cinema he believes in."
"Goal" too takes John on a different trip. "From the time I came in I've walked the lonely path. As a newcomer from outside the film industry with no connections I had no choice but to deliver from the start.
"It's not like I had a godfather or a father to support me. And even if you do, you can't fool the audience.
"Abhishek Bachchan's career worked after so many hiccups not because of who he is, but because he was good. You can't hold a good man down."
Right now John is upbeat about his work. "I worked really hard for 'No Smoking'. I started smoking and became quite an inhaler because we had to show the character's metamorphosis from smoker to non-smoker. In a film like this you can't fake the smoking.
"I hated smoking. Everyone knows how health conscious I am. But I'd do anything to be true to my character. I don't want to be called a dishonest actor."
John had a tough time quitting the poison stick after the film.
"I had coughs and craving for months. Fortunately I was doing a complete health-friendly film 'Goal' side by side. So things got kind of balanced out as they generally do for me, touch wood."
Talk veers to John's other favourite director.
"Deepa Mehta was in Mumbai recently. Of course, I met her although I'm not in her new film. I'd love to be in all her films. Would I do a guest appearance in her next 'Heaven On Earth' with Preity Zinta in it? Any time."
"Deepa is like family. Who says there can't be permanent relationships in this business? People are as genuine down here as you are to them."