ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


John AbrahamJohn Abraham looking to extend his global appeal
19th May 2007  18.00 IST
By Agencies  

The dashing John Abraham is poised to further his global appeal with his next release, Vivek Agnihotri 's Goal which is being aggressively promoted at the 60th Cannes Film Festival.

"I have been at the Toronto Film Festival two years running - first with Water in 2005, then with Kabul Express last year - and now here I am in Cannes as well. It is really great to have your films pushed so methodically on the world stage," says Abraham, who has acquired quite an international fan following in the past two years.

'Goal', produced by UTV Motion Pictures, co-stars Bipasha Basu , Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani and was shot entirely in Britain. In it, Abraham plays Sunny Bhasin, a UK-born Indian who plays for a Southall football club.

Abraham agrees it is difficult for a Bollywood actor to keep doing films that are off the beaten track, but is quick to add that resistance to such a strategy within the industry is weakening appreciably.

"A new approach to film-making has taken roots in the Mumbai industry," he said. "How else do you explain an actor with a name and face like mine being so openly accepted these days?

"I do the kind of films that I believe in," he says. "Some people in the industry might feel that I am sailing against the tide and will have to pay for it. They were skeptical about my ability to pull off the role in 'Water'. I am now also doing Deepa Mehta 's next film, 'Exclusion', with Amitabh Bachchan ."

He believes the gap between commercial and non- mainstream cinema is bound to get narrower by the year.

"So-called small films today come out with 150 prints while a Yash Chopra film releases with 1,000 prints. But a day will come when you will see 400 prints of offbeat films being released against 800 prints of a Yashraj film. The industry is changing," Abraham says.

Referring to 'Goal', he says: "It's a commercially oriented film but completely realistic. It addresses issues like racism, cultural assimilation and social assertion in a way that is bound to have international appeal.

"It's about the journey of a man who travels from playing for a British club to turning out for a South Asian team to assert his identity - it's a story of inspiration, glory and victory."

Abraham performed every single soccer stunt in 'Goal', from transferring the ball from his feet to under his neck to attempting difficult bicycle kicks.

"I have done with football here what I did with bikes in Dhoom . Every single move in the film is authentic. Of course, it took me lots of hard practice."

John Abraham
Vivek Agnihotri
Kabul Express
Bipasha Basu
Arshad Warsi
Boman Irani
Deepa Mehta
Amitabh Bachchan
Yash Chopra

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