Every superstar goes through his or her period of struggle , which becomes easy to romanticize once stardom happens. But there is one story of a spurned superstar that has never been told,and that involves John Abraham. This was the time when John, a supermodel was desperately looking for a break in Bollywood. Like all strugglers with no genealogical connection in the film industry John was trying to make his way into the tightly-insulated world of movies.
One of his closest friends during his days of struggle was Raveena Tandon. I remember Raveena and I were at the post-premiere dinner of Kamal Haasan’s Abhay at the Taj in Mumbai when Raveena received a message . She was sitting next to me when she whispered, ‘I am slipping out for a while. John has got a new bike and he’s waiting outside. Wants to take me for a spin.”
I didn’t bother to find out who ‘John’ was until she came back from her spin. John’s struggle was intense. When he decided to become a Hindi film hero he didn’t know a word of Hindi and was rejected by almost every producer he managed to meet. (Meeting a producer for a newcomer is like an arthritic running a marathon race).
One such producer was Anubhav Sinha. While rejecting John for a role in Tum Bin, Anubhav most categorically told John to first learn Hindi and then try to crack the Bollywood code. John did get down to doing just that. But it took time. In his debut film Jism his voice was dubbed by a professional dubbing artiste.
Interestingly there is a history of male debutante’s voices being dubbed in films produced by Mahesh-Mukesh-Pooja Bhatt: While Rahul Roy‘s voice was dubbed by another actor in AASHIQUI and Faraaz Khan’s voice was also dubbed by someone else in FAREB, director Vikram Bhatt had dubbed for Dino Morea in RAAZ and Aftab Shivdasani in KASOOR.