MUMBAI—Thanks to a major oversight from the PR team of “Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran,” India-West was not invited for the pre-release interviews with John Abraham. All we got was 10 minutes on phone after the film was certified as a hit.
Excerpts from a rapid-fire interview:
Q: This is one of the finest patriotic films I have ever seen, John. Congratulations to you and your team for such a fabulous movie that made me thumpingly proud that I am an Indian.
A: Thank you so much. The love my film and I am getting from all quarters is amazing. When I went to watch it with the audience, there were people hugging me, and in tears, after they watched the film.
Q: This is your first production after “Vicky Donor” that is a hit on such a big scale. How does it feel?
A: Absolutely great! It vindicates my stand that I made a film for everyone, every Indian, not a noir film that could be seen by five or ten people! Also, after all the troubles we faced during the making and the less publicity we could do due to time constraints, I feel relieved and happy. As an actor, I am a beggar for appreciation, and such a film puts immense positive pressure on me. Now, people expect a different film every time.
Q: What was the toughest part of the film?
A: To keep it simple! There were so many different agencies involved, like the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the DBDO, a defense development organization, and so many others. A lot of the terminology was complex. As I said, I wanted to reach out to every Indian. So we had to do a lot of work on that front so that everyone would understand the real story.
The only name we did not take in the film was of the ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organization. We used a fictitious entity called ISA (Indian Space Agency). But ISRO acknowledged my film through an article in “The Times Of India” just yesterday. I am indebted to ISRO and all of them, and to everyone who helped us.
Q: Were you not apprehensive that a director like Abhishek Sharma was at the helm after two catastrophic films, “The Shaukeens” and “Tere Bin Laden 2” following a decent debut in “Tere Bin Laden?”
A: Abhishek came to me with the idea, and we developed the script in-house with my hugely talented writer Sanyukta Chawla Shaikh. Saiwyn Quadras also came in, and I am very happy with the final product. As for the point you mention, Abhishek’s research and his confidence were both of such high standard that I was convinced we would make a good film. And all directors have low phases.
Q: How much of “Parmanu” was real and how much was fictional or dramatized?
A: The plot of the film is 100 percent factual, and the ONLY completely fictional character is of Ashwath Raina, that is, the character I played. We had to do a lot of research and use a lot of data to create this junior bureaucrat. For us, that was more difficult, as also for me as an actor – it would have been easier following a real-life person.
Q: Why did you not opt for a regular leading lady in your wife’s role?
A: Why should I? Anuja’s extremely good, and she was not a regular face, and we wanted it that way. For Ambalika, we were also thinking of a new face, without a baggage, but Abhishek was convinced about Diana (Penty).
Q: You are saying you will do a different film each time, but all of your films to come are action-dramas?
A: The only action franchise I am doing is my own “Attack.” Neither “Satyamev Jayate” nor “RAW (Romeo Akbar Walter)” and “Batla House” are action dramas. I never take up films on the basis of genre. I love comedy, and have a good record with “Garam Masala,” “Dostana,” “Housefull 2” and “Welcome Back,” and I would love to do one. But of late, I have not been offered any.