My Way or The Highway

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Model, actor, producer, owner of a football team, fitness freak and heartthrob to millions, John Abraham is not your ordinary man. With his latest release, Rocky Handsome, Shweta Bhatia caught up with the chiselled hunk to find out what drives his passion

It’s been 13 years since you acted in your first movie. How has your journey been?
It’s been beautiful, honestly. I’ve been blessed and it’s always been a case of brewing in where I can do more and better. People ask me why do I take on so many responsibilities and I always say ‘why develop mediocrity when you can choke on greatness’. So I just enjoy that space and picking up as much as possible.

How have you evolved personally on this journey?
I think I’ve matured as a human being. I’ve learnt a lot and when I took on the role as producer I started structuring projects with younger actors. A lot of people wonder how I work with other actors with such ease and I think we all co-exist here and I’m blessed to believe and think that I complement other actors and vice versa rather than compete with them and that, I feel, takes a lot of maturity. I produced a film very early in my career without me in the lead just to show that I’m very serious about being a producer. Earlier, there was only a one dimensional approach but now there is a three dimensional approach to everything that I’m doing and that requires me to evolve constantly.

Do you ever struggle with time to balance all of them?
Struggling is meant for people who don’t know what they are doing. I never struggle with time. It’s all about time management and I manage my time pretty decently unless people around me are always late but I’m still able to manage that.

Did you transition differently with your thought process when you went from an actor to a producer?
No, I transitioned in my thought process when I became an actor but when I became a producer, that’s when people thought that I transitioned. I transitioned way earlier in my life when I did movies like ‘No Smoking’, ‘Water’, ‘Kabul Express’ and people constantly asked why was I doing these different films? I obviously wanted to do those kinds of films and because those subjects didn’t find the right voice and a platform, I decided to become a producer when I gained some amount of experience in the commercial standing in the industry.

All of the films you have produced are different genres of cinema. Do you deliberately do this?
I think what I deliberately not do is right after a Vicky Donor, make a Vicky Donor 2, that’s something I don’t fall into the trap off. The idea is to concentrate on making different films. I want to be the Harvey Weinstein of this country. I want to make different cinema. I remember before making Vicky Donor I told one of the biggest studios, ‘I’m giving you a chance to be a part of making history with a film like Vicky Donor’ and that person looked at me like I was a psychopath but I knew what I had in store, they didn’t.

Along with all these roles, fitness is a huge part of your life. What is the longest you’ve gone without working out?
Three days! That’s really long for me as I’m in constant motion. When you don’t workout it means that you don’t want to make time for yourself. For me, working out is not just lifting weights. It’s strength training, it’s cross fit, flexibility, playing a sport. There are so many ways to just give yourself that time. When you don’t work out for three or four days means you’re weak and there is no time for weakness with me.

We know you’re a motorcycle enthusiast so if given a choice between a chopper, sports bike and a sports tourer, which would you choose?
Today it would be a sports tourer because there is a phase in my year when maybe three months of the year I don’t want to get into any hyper or super sport mode or a chopper mode and the phase right now I’m in is where I want to do some sports touring.

Where do you see yourself; on the highway, the dusty Leh roads or the tracks?
Right now on the highway but I’ve been the person who’s always taken the off road so it’s a combination of both but with a sports tourer it will definitely be the highway. My way or the highway.