'More Than Touchy, Patriotism is an Overdone Topic': John Abraham
John Abraham's latest film 'Satyamev Jayate' has got a great response at the box office. He spoke to us a few days prior to its release on pop patriotism, social media trolls and why we need to respect life
Congratulations on the success of Parmanu. Satyamev Jayate has opened to great collections but while the theme is different, the genre is the same – patriotic films! Weren’t you worried that it would lead to comparisons?
No, with every film, you play a different character. I was not worried, and I would love to be compared to my own films rather than anybody else’s! In fact, I’m absolutely open to comparisons.
The theme of Satyamev Jayate is about the fight against corruption, it’s something we have seen before. What makes this film different?
There’s more to this film than just the fight against corruption. When you watch the film, I am sure you can appreciate what my director (Milap Zaveri) has tried to do. And surely when John Abraham and Manoj Bajpayee have come together for a project, it’s because there is substance to it! We are both thinking actors and it doesn’t make the best sense for us just to do a commercial film for the sake of it. This film we figured and discovered has a lot of structure to it, and a lot of plot points, besides the emotional content.
Why is there so much blood and gore in the film?
In fact in the trailer, we used some shoots of Muharram, and I must say on record that what you see in the trailer is probably as much as you get in the entire film. There’s nothing more… maybe about 20% more – the beauty of this film. It’s not bloody, barring those shots you saw. There’s no nudity, or bad language, it’s an absolutely clean film. We’ll be very happy if children of all communities and religion come to watch this film.
Satyamev Jayate has also been described as a vigilante film…
No, it’s not a vigilante film, it’s a film that speaks about both sides of the coin – if it shows the bad, it shows the good as well. I would definitely not slot this into the vigilante space. It’s very, very far from it. And, like I said the title is relevant to the plot.
Patriotism is such a touchy topic these days, how do you differentiate it from jingoism and how has that being tackled in the film?
I think, patriotism, more than touchy is an overdone topic. We have already shown it in Parmanu which is still running in theatres. So, I think time you watch a commercial film that talks about nationalism but so much more too!
A still from John Abraham
Given the very polarised atmosphere, especially on social media, do you think twice before presenting your views on any current topic? What is your view on social media fuel controversy?
Just like the social media stars, there are social media trolls. My colleague once said that if they do get verified accounts, it’ll be nice, you can take them seriously in that space. Social media is a very strong platform, and people use it very effectively, especially people who know their faces cannot be seen. They use it even more effectively because it makes you brave! So, hats off to all those people.
As an actor and a citizen, what are the issues you feel more strongly about?
I feel strongly about cruelty and safety of women and children in this country. I feel strongly against cruelty towards animals in this country. I feel there’s complete disregard for life in this country. When you don’t care about life and you don’t care about your own people, how are you going to be concerned about your economy and other issues but we are! So, I think it’s high time we sat up, put stress on education and educate our people to respect life and all forms of life.