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Back to humble beginnings

RANA SIDDIQUI

"Viruddh" proved to be a sort of homecoming for John Abraham.

PHOTO: RAJEEV BHATT

IN SUPPORT OF "VIRUDHH" John Abraham plays a dutiful son in this Mahesh Manjrekar film.

From a stylised goon, Kabeer in Aditya Chopra's blockbuster "Dhoom" last year to a simple, traditionally-rooted son Amar Patwardhan in Mahesh Manjrekar's this Friday release "Viruddh", the journey for actor John Abraham has been "much of a homecoming." In "Viruddh", John sheds many tears, both genuine and with glycerine. It has brought him "closer" to his real life and helped him "remain grounded."

And hence, John has no regrets for the film being highlighted more as a Big B saga and that he has a "little" role that wraps up in the first half itself.

"A role is a role. There is nothing big or small about it. It is the character that you play and more importantly, how important that character is in the film. This whole film revolves around my character. Hence, I don't think I have any regrets. On the other hand, I feel very good that I got a chance to work with Mr. Bachchan and that too as his son," reflects John. In "Viruddh", John plays the role of Amar, the only son of an ageing couple whose sudden death exposes them to the vagaries of modern-day corrupt life.

For John, the choice of the role too has emotional reasons. "I accepted this film because it is for the first time that I got a chance to play a role which is very similar to my real life. The film is based on a middle-class background and I happen to come from one such household. It made me feel as if I have gone back to my roots. The bonding between the parents and the son is just the same as I share with my parents. In fact, when I read the script I had tears in my eyes. During the dubbing scenes also, I got very emotional. It is a complete family film. I love my parents a lot and strongly believe that one's family plays a very important part in one's life." Though as an actor, John adds, "I want to work in different genres and do films where I can mould and express myself to the fullest and grow better with every film."

The Big B factor

And there is more. "For the first time I play an on-screen son," he says. And to play it, he didn't actually have to work on his looks. "Here, my character is of Amar, the only son of a cultured, well-read middle class family. Since it meant me to play myself, it was very easy for me. I didn't even work on my looks as such but yes, for the first time, I am wearing in white kurta in the whole film," he recalls, with that familiar dimpled smile.

Though, "Viruddh" is not his first film with Big B - he has already worked with Bachchan in "Aetbaar" - John says there is a difference, "In that film, he kills me and here, he adores me because I am his son!"

And having worked with Bachchan again, he has come out more mesmerised.

"Mr. Bachchan is a brilliant actor and institution in himself. No wonder, he is everyone's dream to work with and I am lucky to have already done two movies with him. Everyone learns so much from him, just by being with him, seeing him and absorbing him. He would explain the scene and at times, even show me how to perform it. He has an aura, which no one can avoid. There were no problems at all while facing him in front of camera. He is absolutely fun to work with."

And not that he could remain untouched by Sharmila Tagore's beauty, who plays the mother's role in "Viruddh".

"Sharmilaji is still so gorgeous and very cute. I used to chat with her on the sets. My God... what grace, she is so composed and a complete natural. She is a complete person, always warm and what grace! I am stumped, don't know what to say... " John sighs, all spellbound.

And it wasn't only her charm that magnetised John but also the very role of a mother that made him feel more concerned about mothers in general.

"I love my mother and respect all women who are mothers because now I realise that it takes a lot of hard work to bring up a child in the right way. As they say, `God could not be present everywhere so he made mother'," he says, overwhelmed. All for "Viruddh"?

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