MUMBAI: Nikkhil Advani returns as director with "Batla House" on August 15, and the film starring John Abraham has already garnered curiosity. The filmmaker feels his leading man John has admirably transformed from a supermodel to a well-read performer and an intelligent film producer.
"We are friends and business partners because we have produced a film together. He (John) has transformed, and the kind of films he is acting in, and also producing, shows how well-read he is," Nikkhil told IANS, adding: "When I narrated 'Batla House', he had so many valid questions and perspectives on why we were telling the story from a particular angle. (He brainstormed over) what we were searching for in the film, (what) conversation we were starting through its story?"
"I think such questions come from an intelligent mind. So yes, I can see his change from a model to an actor and also producer," said Nikkhil, adding: "He has a strong physical appearance that makes him fit into the action hero genre. If he lifts a motorcycle or flaunts his muscles, it looks real. He has a room for everything."
John gradually transformed himself as an actor over the years from a supermodel, with roles in "Jism", "Water", "Madras Cafe", "Parmanu" and "Jism", even as he proved he was an actor who could score hits, with films such as "New York", "Dhoom" and "Dostana". Lately, with films such as "Satyameva Jayate", the recent "Romeo Akbar Walter" and the upcoming "Batla House", John has also become Bollywood's poster boy patriotic star alongside Akshay Kumar.
"Balta House", slated for an August 15 release, is inspired by the alleged police encounter operation of 2008 that took place in Delhi, in the wake of the serial blasts. While the police have hailed the operation as avictory, many have alleged that it was a mere cover-up. The film, also featuring Mrunal Thakur, Ravi Kishan and Sonam Arora, has John playing a tough top cop who means business.
According to Nikkhil, John's characters prove that he is a patriot with a progressive mind.
"There are two kinds of patriots nowaday. One, those who shout 'Jai SriRam' -- there is nothing wrong in that, because it is their prerogative. The other kind is those who, if they notice garbage on the street, pick it up and put it in the trash can. John belongs to the second category." said Nikkhil, adding: "John really feels excited when the National Anthem plays and the Tricolour is hoisted, but he is also well-versed with the world around us. I think his sensibility and awareness translate in his performances," added the filmmaker.
Keeping John's patriotic slant, was the actor Nikkhil's only choice for "Batla House"?
"It all started with a chat John and I had during the shooting of 'Satyameve Jayate'. We were sitting in the van and he asked me what I was writing. When I gave him the 'Batla House' story in a line, he showed interest. So, I narrated the full story to him. In retrospect, John was the only choice and the film was possible because of him," he shared.
"Batla House" releases on August 15.