Actor John Abraham, who kick-started his showbiz career as a model before foraying into Bollywood says he is a middle-class person and likes living a simple and frugal life. "I am not a narcissistic person by nature, I don't like going out looking for attention. I don't have a bodyguard, I have a simple life, I don't wear a watch, I have a basic car. I am a middle-class person and I will not lose that. I live my life on my own terms, I am frugal in my lifestyle," John told PTI.
Being in the filmdom for about 15 years, John says he believes in staying true to his roots. "It beats me when in south India you are called megastar or superstar. Vanity to another level scares me. I connect to audience (with a thought) that I am not like a star to them. I don't want to become a star to them, I want to be John Abraham the person."
He said he is "very secure as a person and as an actor" and is well aware of how much a film starring him would do business as compared to other actors. For every Garam Masala or a Housefull, the actor says he has also featured in content-driven movies like Madras Cafe or a Water. "I have done every kind of film. The subtlety in my performance is lauded today more than it was earlier. Those days it was about being over expressive, garish, loud as that was considered as good acting. Times have changed, subtlety in performance is important and that comes across in most of my work," he said.
John's next release is Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran", based on India's nuclear tests at Pokhran in 1998 during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's tenure. The actor and the team of writers and director Abhishek Sharma did an extensive research on the subject and met several officials in BARC, ISRO, DRDO, people in the Intelligence Bureau and Army. "Col Sharma was there when Pokhran test happened and he was consultant for our film. We changed the names of all the characters...we couldn't keep (nuclear scientist and former President) APJ Abdul Kalam's name but we have kept the plot real.
"The only fictional character is that of mine... that is the only creative liberty. We have dedicated the film to the heroes of this country from Army-men to scientists," he said. The 45-year-old actor was aware about this chapter of Indian history and the aim is to show this moment of pride and honour onscreen. "When I made Madras Cafe, people thought I made a Congress film, with Parmanu I don't want people to say I made a BJP film. I am a filmmaker and making a film to entertain people.
"Our film is not anti-Pakistan or anti-China or anti-America...it is a pro-India film. We are not here to bash anyone. We are here to show the greatness of our nation," John said. The actor said there was"too much technical information" but they managed to break that make it palatable for the audience.
"The challenge was to simplify it and the other was to make it entertaining, on the edge of the seat thriller, like Argo or Eye in the Sky, Parmanu should be on the edge of the seat thriller film and patriotism should be the byproduct." The film was embroiled in a legal battle between two producers - John's JA Entertainment and Prernaa Arora's KriArj Entertainment. According to the actor, releasing the film is like a nuclear test as he has fought very hard for it.
He revealed that during such testing times there were few people from the film industry who stood beside him in solidarity like Karan Johar, Nana Patekar and Arjun Rampal. After several delays in the release - from December 2017 to February 2018- and then moving on to March and April, the film is now scheduled to arrive in theatres on May 25.
(With PTI inputs)