John Abraham on Satyameva Jayate clashing with Gold: Akshay Kumar and I are happy throwing each other around

Actor-producer John Abraham is basking in the success of Parmanu. Not just that, his dreams of the kind of films he wants to be part of, both, as an actor as well as the producer, is being realised. He has stepped into Aamir Khan’s shoes for the sequel of John Matthew Matthan’s 1999 action-drama Sarfarosh (as actor and co-producer). As an actor, his line-up of films, beginning with Satyameva Jayate (releasing on 15 August), includes Batla House, and RAW: Romeo Akbar Walter. These films resonate with what he wants to do as an actor-producer. Needless to say, he’s raring to go. Just that he is a little stumped when people call Parmanu his comeback film. “Where did I go? But I also realise that I didn’t do anything in the last two years, so people thought I have retired,” he says.

Touted as a psychological thriller, Satyameva Jayate’s (SMJ) a true-blue commercial film, says John. “it is a cat and mouse kind of a story. It is filmy and fun. It has got dialoguebaazi, action, romance and drama. A pure commercial film is a rarity today and Satyameva is just that,” he says. “But it has underlying issues like corruption, degeneration of society with women, children, animals being targeted. You want to hit people who are responsible for this, you want that angst out and my character does just that. So, Satyameva becomes that aspirational film,” John further adds.

After the failure of Mastizaade (2016), SMJ director, Milap Zaveri felt that John may not agree to do his film but the actor says that he was never scared of taking risks. “It doesn’t matter to me. Abhishek Sharma had Shaukeen before I did Parmanu with him, Shoojit Sircar had Yahaan before I did Vicky Donor and Madras Café with him, Kabir Khan was a war documentary filmmaker before I did Kabul Express and New York for him. I don’t go by people’s track record, I have no fear,” he says.

“I understand that today’s young crop of actors only want to work with A-list directors because outside of them, they are scared that they will fail. Without the top-line directors they will fail, I can guarantee you. They don’t want to work with regular directors. Even as a producer I have no fear of failure because my content is strong and I know that a good director will manage to pull it off. The only actors who will work with new directors are Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar. These two will work with anybody and everybody,” he adds.

Over the course of 15 years, John’s filmography has been a mixed bag of hits and misses. He has appeared in films of varied genres like an erotic thriller (Jism), an action thriller (Dhoom), romantic comedy (Dostana) and political spy thriller (Madras Cafe) among others. But the movies which made the 45-year-old actor popular are his action flicks where his chiselled body and action sequences were applauded. However, John was never too happy or satisfied with the films that came his way. Also, he doesn’t shy away from admitting that he marketed himself right at the start of his career for his survival.

“Earlier I was known for my body, my face, my appearance and I was also very smart then, after all I was a marketing guy (laughs). So if people wanted to see my body, I gave them that…I kind of sold it..I did a Dostana, Dhoom..I got enough commercial success but I wasn’t getting the films that I wanted to do. Hence I became a producer and debuted with Vicky Donor followed by Madras Café and Parmanu. I believed in these films and hence my performances were also engaging. Finally I got to act in the kind of films I wanted to,” said John, who’s aware that he is being taken seriously only after Parmanu. “But I’m not bitter about anything. Most of the people who criticised me are married with children now or have retired. My best five years are going to start now and this probably is the best phase of my career because I feel empowered as a producer. I hold no grudges,” says John, who would gradually wants to get into direction.