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    “Everybody says John Jaan,” says John Abraham

    [Interview by Faridoon Shahryar]
    Wednesday, December 13, 2006
    “Kabul Express is arguably one of the most commercial films. It is all about believing in what you are doing,” says Bollywood heartthrob John Abraham who has come in for a special appreciation from Steven Speilberg for his performance in Oscar nominated ‘Water’. After earning acclaim and public appreciation this year for films like ‘Zinda’, ‘Taxi No 9 2 11’, John had a speed-breaker in the form of ‘Baabul’ (It’s not a John Abraham film at all). He is quickly back in the reckoning with his next release ‘Kabul Express’ based on the personal experiences of documentary filmmaker Kabir Khan. Over to an exclusive interview with the man who launched a calendar a few days ago:

    What makes ‘Kabul Express’ a memorable experience?

    Great movie, great script, amazing location, great look to the film, very interesting storyline, superb starcast, by star cast I mean great people from different countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, America and of course Arshad and me from India. And a smart director.

    What sort of research did you do for playing a TV journalist?

    I think the research was not so much so for the character as much for the location. I was supposed to play Kabir Khan, so I studied him.

    What sort of security concerns did you guys face?

    There were serious security issues. Pretty dangerous but the important thing was to get a good movie shot. And that’s what we did.

    How was it like shooting with Arshad who has a great sense of humour?

    Superb. Arshad is an asset in every film, on every set. He is a nice human being. He is fun loving. It’s great to be with him.

    There are scenes where you are traveling on Tanks….

    It is dangerous. You are in open fields…You walk…A soldier will pull you back and say no…landmines…you move the other way….landmines…Afghanistan has got 10 million landmines. And technically speaking it will take 26 years to clear.

    You were fondly called John Jaan by the Afghani locals….

    Oh John Jaan….Everybody there says John Jaan….When I came back home my friends called me John Jaan.

    What are the expectations from Kabul Express?

    I really think and hopefully that it will work….

    Something about director Kabir Khan….

    My character is partly based on what Kabir is all about. He is a black and white person. Pretty no–nonsense person. He gets his job done. Wants to go wherever there is danger During the shooting…Arshad said that Kabir would chose his location….That what are the chances of living here…5%....Ok we are going there. He doesn’t believe in boundaries, religion. He just gets his job done at whatever cost. There is a soft side to him. He is a strong silent person and that’s what my character is in the movie.

    ‘Zinda’, ‘Taxi No 9 2 11’, ‘Water’ at Oscars and ‘Baabul’…So, how important is ‘Kabul Express?

    All the films I do, I look at it from the perspective of the audience I look at it from the point of view that whether they will work or not at the script level. That’s how I choose my films. Some of them work. Some of them don’t. That’s the choice I’ve made. A lot of people have told me that commercially you can do whatever you want to. ‘Kabul Express’ is arguably one of the most commercial films. It is all about believing in what you are doing. I think it’s important to do different films and enjoy the process of filmmaking . I am doing a film ‘No Smoking’ with Anurag Kashyap who had been told by producers to come back in 2050. So, by the grace of God, I am sitting before you all.

    What are your future films?

    After ‘Kabul Express’ there’s Nikhil Advani’s ‘Salaam-e-ishq’, then there’s Viveik Agnihotri’s ‘Goal’, Anurag Kashyap’s ‘No Smoking’, Shriram Raghavan’s next…and a few more in the pipeline

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