The sexy John Abraham is back! This time a movie about the most tense political thrillers set against the backdrop of the Sri Lanka civil war and the assassination of a key Indian political leader, Madras Café, releasing globally on 23rd August 2013.
Madras Café sees award-winning actor John Abraham turn producer for the second time in his career after the international success of the off-beat comedy Vicky Donor. At the directorial helm is avant-garde independent film maker and producer Shoojit Sircar, who is responsible for such well-received films as Vicky Donor and Yahaan, for which he won the Indian Competition Special Jury Award at Osian’s Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema.
John Abraham performs the role of Captain Vikram Singh, an accomplished Para Military Officer recruited by the R&AW’s (India’s external security agency) Indian head Robin Dutt (RD) – with the mandate to execute certain covert Intelligence operations in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and conduct peaceful provincial council elections. However, as Vikram delves deeper into his covert operations against a faceless enemy in a daring game of cat-and-mouse, he suddenly becomes the hunted. Soon the beleaguered Vikram realises that there is a leak within his own group.
Here is what John had to say about the film!
Urban Asian Madras Café is your second movie as a producer. What are your thoughts on it?
John Abraham: My first offbeat comedy Vicky Donor got a good national and international success. Post this, I decided to do something more serious and choose a subject which is inspired by real life. After a lot of brainstorming we came up with the idea of creating a political thriller and that’s what we have done. I am quite happy with our work. Now just eagerly waiting for its release and to see how the audience reacts to it.
Urban Asian: Vicky Donor gave you real success after a long time. Does it make you more over-confident?
John Abraham: I was quite overwhelmed with the responses we got for this movie. It was a transforming experience producing this movie. We all have been like a close knit team and worked very hard for it. This success makes me more humble and grounded.
Urban Asian: Tell us more about Madras Café?
John Abraham: Madras Café is close to my heart. It is a tense political thriller against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war of the 1980’s. July 2013 marked the 30 year anniversary of the conflict, which finally ended in 2009 with the military defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Madras Café provides a timely reminder of the gruesome conflict that claimed thousands of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim lives and left millions of people displaced and desolate. The war’s impact was felt across the world with both Eastern and Western nations involved in the negotiations for a resolution.
Urban Asian: What is your role in the film besides being the producer?
John Abraham: I play the role of Captain Vikram Singh, a successful Para Military Officer recruited by the R&AW’s (India’s external security agency) Indian head Robin Dutt (RD) – with the mandate to execute certain covert intelligence operations in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and conduct peaceful provincial council elections.
Urban Asian: We also see Nargis in the film. What is her role?
John Abraham: Nargis plays a bold role in this movie. She is a journalist named ‘Jaya’. Vikram and Jaya together go about finding the truth amongst a complex web of lies and deceit, and begin telling the world their incredible story.
Urban Asian: It is said that your look in the movie is inspired by Tom Hank’s look in Cast Away. Please comment.
John Abraham: Deciding on my look for the movie was quite challenging. It took lot of brain storming and we finalised this messy look, which apparently you think is inspired by Tom, but actually it’s not.
Urban Asian: John as an actor and John as a producer. What’s your calling?
John Abraham: I was interested in an advertising career before modeling. So now, as a producer, I am exploring that potential of mine and I love it, though it is a huge responsibility. As an actor, I am very much engaged in the acting part as well. The critical point is the belief in the script which, of course, I have. It is quite close to my heart.
UrbanAsian: The kind of role that you are playing in Madras Café is quite different than what you have played in your other movies. How do you think it’s different?
John Abraham: I have done a few commercial films before (Jism, Dhoom, Force etc.), showing off my body. That was fun. But this role demands a more serious side of me with a touch of realism to it. The role required me to have a normal and lean body rather than a muscular one.
Urban Asian: We heard that you approached Freida Pinto for the role first, before taking Nargis onboard?
John Abraham: Yes, we did approach Pinto for the role. She loved the script but unfortunately she couldn’t accept the offer as she was doing another film at that juncture.
Urban Asian: Do you think Madras Café could face controversy?
John Abraham: I don’t think so. This story is thoroughly researched from authentic sources. It cannot hurt the sentiments of Sri Lanka or Tamil Nadu, or in fact of anyone who sees the film. It is surely inspired by true events but it doesn’t mean it should be banned or face controversies.
Urban Asian: Will Madras Café be released internationally?
John Abraham: We do plan to release the movie internationally, especially in Sri Lanka , to let the locals know that the movie is not anti Sri Lanka or anti Tamil.
Madras Cafe is set to release this week, be sure to check it out!