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Upperstall Profile


Memorable films

John Abraham


Upperstall profile by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan

Yet another supermodel turned actor and though still to prove his acting talent, there is no doubt that John Abraham is a huge star in Hindi cinema today. He is one of the biggest heart throbs in filmdom today, his good looks and sexy body driving women insanely wild.

John was born on December 17, 1972 in Mumbai. His father, an architect is a Malayali Christian while his mother belongs to the Parsi community. John did his schooling in Mumbai's prestigious Bombay Scottish School where he captained the school soccer team besides being an excellent sprinter, his forte being the 100 metrs and 200 metres races. He then did his BA in Economics at Jai Hind College going on to do his MMS from the Mumbai Educational Trust (MET), passing the course in 1998.

Among his early jobs, John worked as a Media Planner with Enterprise-Nexus, an advertising agency. One day a model failed to land up for a shoot and John was asked to fill in. One thing led to another and soon John found himself doing the Live-In jeans commerical and a press shoot for Philips. The photographer of the Philips shoot reckoned John would go far in the modelling world. This encouraged John to take part in the Glad Rags Manhunt competition in 1999. he won and went on be the first runner up in its International avatar, Manhunt International. John was signed by Carrie Models, Singapore and worked as a model in Singapore, Hong Kong, London and New York. John returned to India and apart from modeling for brands like Cinthol and Levis, also took his first steps towards acting by doing music videos. He was widely noticed in Pankaj Udhas's Chupke Chupke video.

Hindi Cinema was the next logical step and John debuted in Hindi cinema with Jism (2003). Unlike most heros who preferred to get introduced in candy floss love stories or macho action roles, Jism, a blend of Double Indemnity and Body Heat, saw John play a man whose life is turned upside down by femme fatale Bipasha Basu who drives him to murder for her. It was a clever choice and John received positive reviews for his work in the film. The film too did quite well at the box office. John received a nomination from Filmfare for Best Male Debut.

However, none of John's next lot of films - Paap (2003), Saaya (2003), Madhoshi (2004), Aetbaar (2004) or Lakeer (2004) did well and neither was his work talked about. It seemed that he was just another model unable to act, wooden and expressionless.

Thankfully for John, Dhoom (2004) changed all that. As the head of a biker gang that robs banks and money vans while officially being pizza delivery boys, John, in spite of his limited acting capabilities, walked off with the film. An avid motorcycle fan, the thrill on John's face as he rode the Suzuki Hayabusa is all too real. The film won John a nomination for Best Villain from Filmfare.

Post Dhoom, while John has been seen in a steady stream of films, his career hasn't taken off as it should have following such a blockbuster. Among his films, his biggest success at the box-office has been Garam Masala (2005) where he played second fiddle to Akshay Kumar while Nana Patekar totally stole his thunder in Taxi No. 9211 (2006). In fact, John seems ill at ease in both films, struggling to find comic timing. He did make an impact in Baabul (2006) as Rani Mukherji's silent lover even receiving a nomination from Filmfare for Best Supporting Actor for his quiet understated act but the film flopped at the box-office as did his other big film, Salaam-E-Ishq (2007) where, quite frankly, he got lost in the big starcast. Experimenting to go off the beaten track too did not work as Anurag Kashyap's self-indulgent No Smoking (2007) sailed way over people's heads leaving them totally confused.

The one exception was Water (2005). Set in India in 1938, the film examines the plight of a group of widows in the holy city of Varanasi. John plays a progressive brahmin youth, Narayan, who is a follower of MahatmaGandhi and who is willing to take on society and marry the widow, Kalyani (Lisa Ray) he loves.  The film recieved great critical acclaim and even made to the Oscars where it was Canada's official entry and one of the final nominees for Best Foreign film. While Seema Biswas and young Sarla making her acting debut as Chuyia unanimously got the best reviews in the histrionic department, romantic leads Lisa Ray and John received mixed reviews. Quoting Ruthe Stein in the San Francisco Chronicle, "Ray and Abraham, both big stars in India, are so fabulous looking that it becomes distracting. Abraham, in particular, isn't a strong enough actor to make you forget he's a hunk." Nevertheless, the film helped in exposing John to International audiences.

No doubt, John made great eye candy in the Karan Johar Production Dostana (2008) but he was easily upstaged by Abhishek Bachchan's brilliant comic turn. His performance in the Kabir Khan directed New York (2009) too leaves a lot to be desired. Though, John has some interesting films like Nagesh Kukunoor's Aashayein (2009) lined up for release, it is high time he brushes up his acting prowess.

On the personal front, things look good for him as John has been seeing his co-star of Jism, Aetbaar and Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, Bipasha Basu for some time now.




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