With Parmanu, RAW and Satyameva Jayate, John Abraham becomes Bollywood's go-to patriotic action star
With a slate of patriotic and action films, John Abraham comes across as the hero who is not just about the body, but also about brains.
When it comes to cinema genres in India, there are quite a few but what has come off as a real favourite in the recent years has been patriotic films — the ones where the hero (read: a male messiah) comes to the rescue of his fellow countrymen and holds the Tricolour high and proud at the end.
That does come across with a lot of jingoism, pravachan-baazi (which is often said in a similar tone) and the quintessential mera Bharat mahaan-attitude ('Jana Gana Mana'/ 'Vande Mataram' in the background).
Of late, Akshay Kumar has been holding the torch for such films, for which he has been lauded as well as labelled. His films — Baby, Holiday, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Padman, Rustom and Airlift — has taken the actor to new heights (including a National Award that the Khans never managed to get in their careers yet).
While Akshay started with action, he slyly and steadily ventured into social dramas. Other than him, the only actor who seems to be donning the action-patriot cap is the other desi boy of the Desi Boyz duo John Abraham.
With that chiseled body and sharp looks, Abraham makes for a super-hero(ish) patriot, sans any superpower. Be it films like Force, Force 2, Madras Cafe, Dishoom and the much-awaited-much-delayed Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran, Abraham is the hero who is not just about the body, but also about brains. He does not come across as the rural hero (like Akshay) who deals with social issues, but the one who tackles goons and guns heads on.
Even his upcoming films, RAW (Romeo Akbar Walter), Satyameva Jayate or Nikkhil Advani's next on Batla House encounter — all of them feature the Jism actor in the role of a spy/cop who takes up risky challenges, does high-octane action and makes the nation proud.
It is not that Abraham is testing this space for the first time. After starting with sensuous dramas/thrillers like Jism and Paap, the actor entered the action arena with Dhoom and since then, has starred in a range of films, that too from diverse genres. Although not much can be said about any development in his acting skills, his machismo remained spot on. Even physically, he metamorphosed from a body of a model to that of a hero with broader shoulders, beefed up chest and veins almost popping out.
Abraham has managed to do an eclectic mix of films every time. One cannot say that he has been typecast for a particular genre at a given point in time in the actor's career. If he did a Kaal or a Garam Masala, at the same time he also did a Virrudh or a Water. He also did pretty unconventional films like Taxi No 9211, Kabul Express and No Smoking, and perfectly fitted the bill.
Even his production debut Vicky Donor was a brave attempt in terms of the subject of the film. The film did exceptionally well and also won him a National Award. Abraham followed his production ventures with films like Madras Cafe, Rocky Handsome and Force 2. The last two films did not fare well at the box office which cost the actor a lot; he was reportedly struck off from many action films post the failure of Force 2.
Now with these action-patriotic films, will Abraham be able to still maintain the reputation of an actor who tries different genres? Will he be able to revive the same image he had created post-Madras Cafe and Force? For that, one needs to see how Parmanu fares in the market.
The film, after undergoing several changes in the release date, is finally slated for a 25 May release. Abraham stars in the film along with Diana Penty and Boman Irani. It is based on the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests and is directed by Abhishek Sharma of Tere Bin Laden-fame.
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