John smokes his way into 'No Smoking'

May 21, 2007 Subhash K. Jha


Mumbai, May 22 (IANS) John Abraham quit smoking long ago, but is putting himself into the smokers' zone again for a role. He has been smoking extensively for his role in Anurag Kashyap's´ "No Smoking".

Coughing intermittently, the dedicated actor said, "Oh man, I've just been smoking and smoking for every shot. And one has to inhale the smoke. I can't just pretend to be smoking. If I had to fake it I'd not be doing this role. I'm turning into a smoker for an anti-smoking film."

"Ironically, while we're making an anti-smoking film all of us are smokers on the sets. After a shot we huddle together like college students in the locker room for a smoke," he added.

"No Smoking" is one more endeavour by John to go against the grain. "People look at me as if I've gone crazy - at a time when the world is doing big-budget actions why are you doing 'Kabul Express' and 'No Smoking', have you lost it? - but that's me. More than driving a car, I love riding a bike, I love the thought of sitting on the edge. I'm very secure about my career choices."

Matthew Robbins, who wrote many of Steven Spielberg's earlier films, had a lot to say about "No Smoking" to John. "He came home the other day and said it's the best thing to have happened to Indian cinema. He told me to be grateful that I was in a film like this. Do you know no other leading man wanted to do this film? And when Anurag came to me he narrated another script, a very commercial typical thriller that he thought I'd be more interested in," said John.

"Then he suddenly offered me 'No Smoking'. I loved it and asked him why he hadn't offered me this first. Then he confessed he had made up the other commercial subject on the way to meet me. He made it up in half an hour and gave me an hour-long narration just to see how I reacted. Then he offered me 'No Smoking."

John's 'No Smoking' co-star is Ayesha Takia. "She's a very sweet girl, and very sincere about her work."

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