John Abraham: There will be conflicting views, but the idea behind 'Batla House' is to start a conversation
After 'Madras Cafe' and 'Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran', John Abraham Everything is ready for another movie, which is based on a real incident of national interest. 'Casa Batla', inspired by the Operation House batla which took place in 2008, introduces him as police officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav. The actor agrees that it is a great responsibility to play a character from real life. He says: The responsibility is even greater since this is the first time that I play someone who is still serving. If he (Sanjeev Kumar) thinks I'm not good enough, he can shoot me (laughs!). Therefore, it would be better to be good at portraying it in the film.
In an attempt to get into character's shoes, John spent a lot of time with Sanjeev. He shares: I spent a lot of time with Sanjeev and his wife Shobhna to understand their mentality, their body language, the way they feel, stop, talk, react to situations and what happened. He had a million questions for him.
The actor adds, “There were times when I was tempted to take creative liberties, but I refrained from that; I wanted to be true to the character. It was interesting playing him, but it was difficult, too, because it is a strong and conflicting character. A lot has happened in his life post the House batla incident and to present that on screen, was difficult. It’s like walking on a double-edged sword and you don’t want to tilt either way. So, this is not Nikkhil (Advani, director) or my version of a story that we want people to believe in, but this is what it we believe in, factually.”
Speaking of the kind of films he likes to associate with, John says: I like topics that are convincing and not necessarily controversial, topics that interest me as a person and as a movie consumer. I follow my instincts in the type of selection, especially in the films I produce. I am clear that the films I relate to are based on the content and that there is a solid reason
He adds, “ House batla is not anti or pro any community or political establishment. It’s a story of this man's life and what he went through. To put it in simple words, it’s a story of one man’s life.”
Ask him how hard it is to get to the truth, where an incident can have so many angles, resulting in different points of view among people, and he responds: I am aware that there will be conflicting views, even if it sticks to facts as close as possible. However, the idea is to start a conversation and I hope we have done it with this movie. One way of looking at it is to show different perspectives of the story and the other is to make the audience think and give them a reason for a constructive argument.