John Abraham (born 17 December 1972)[67] is an Indian film actor, producer and a former model who appears in Hindi films. After modelling for numerous advertisements and companies, he made his film debut with Jism (2003), which earned him a Filmfare Best Debut Award nomination.[10] This was followed by his first commercial success, Dhoom (2004). He received two Filmfare Award nominations, for his negative roles in Dhoom, and in Zinda (2006). He later appeared in the major critical success Water (2005).[4] He was nominated for a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film Baabul (2006). Since then, Abraham has starred in many critically and commercially successful films including Kaal (2005), Garam Masala (2005), Taxi No. 9211 (2006), Dostana (2008), New York (2009), Force (2011), Desi Boyz (2011), Housefull 2 (2012), Race 2 (2013), Shootout at Wadala (2013), Madras Cafe (2013), Welcome Back (2015), Dishoom (2016), and the latest, Force 2, thus establishing himself as a commercially successful actor of Indian cinema.

In 2012, Abraham produced his first film Vicky Donor, which was a critical and commercial success, and earned him a National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. He then established his own production house, John Abraham Entertainment. His second film as a producer was Madras Cafe, which garnered critical acclaim. Abraham's athletic and muscular physique has contributed to his status as one of the most influential sex symbols in Bollywood.[5][6]

Beyond his acting career, he is the co-owner of the Indian Super League football team NorthEast United FC.[4][12] He has often performed many dangerous stunts in his films. He is also a vegetarian, and is a strong advocate for animal rights.[2]

Early life

John Abraham was born into a family of mixed religious and ethnic heritage. His father, Abraham John, is an architect and a Malayali Christian from Aluva, Kerala, while his mother, Firoza Irani, is a Zoroastrian (Parsi). Abraham's Parsi name, given to him by his mother's family, is "Farhan" while his father, being a Marthomite Syrian Christian named him "John."[2] He has a younger brother named Alan Abraham and a cousin sister named Susy Mathew.[2][2][2]

John Abraham grew up in Mumbai and studied at the upmarket Bombay Scottish School in Worli, Mumbai. He is remarkably well-educated relative to his colleagues in the film industry. He took a bachelor's degree in economics from Jai Hind College, University of Mumbai, and then went on to take an MBA from Mumbai Educational Trust.[2][2][2][2]

Career

Modelling

John Abraham started his modelling career appearing in the music video of the song by Punjabi singer Jazzy B.[2] He then joined the media firm Time & Space Media Entertainment Promotions Ltd., which however closed because of financial problems. Later, he worked for Enterprises-Nexus as a media planner.[66] In 1999, he won the Gladrags Manhunt Contest and went to the Philippines for Manhunt International, where he won second place.[66] he later modelled in Hong Kong, London and New York City. He also appeared in a number of commercial advertisements and other music videos for singers including Pankaj Udhas, Hans Raj Hans and Babul Supriyo. To improve his acting skills, Abraham joined the Kishore Namit Kapoor acting laboratory and completed an acting course while juggling modelling assignments.[66]

Debut and struggle

Abraham made his acting debut with Jism in 2003, an erotic thriller film which according to Box Office India, was "Average" grossing 1,32,50,000 Rs.[66] He portrayed the role of Kabir Lal, a poor, alcoholic and wayward lawyer who falls in love with Sonia Khanna (played by Bipasha Basu), a wife of a travelling millionaire, who plots to kill her own husband with the company of Kabir. The film met with mixed to positive reviews. Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama commented: "Supermodel John Abraham makes a confident debut. The actor rises beyond his looks and registers a strong impact with his performance, more so towards the second half. His dashing looks and excellent physique only add to his persona".[66]

In the same year, Abraham appeared in Anurag Basu's horror paranormal romance film Saaya alongside Tara Sharma and Mahima Chaudhary. The film garnered mixed to negative reviews, and underperformed at the box office. Taran Adarsh wrote: "Saaya clearly belongs to John. No two opinions on that! Enacting a very difficult role, the newcomer actually performs like a veteran and delivers a performance that's bound to win him nominations in the awards categories. His growth as an actor is tremendous!" [66]

In 2004, he appeared in Pooja Bhatt's directorial debut film Paap alongside Udita Goswami. He portrayed the role of Shiven, a police officer, who falls for a Buddhist girl, Kaaya. The film underperformed at the box office, receiving mixed reviews, and also was premiered at the Kara Film Festival. That same year, he appeared in Ahmed Khan's film Lakeer – Forbidden Lines, co-starring Nauheed Cyrusi with other stars such as Sunny Deol, Sunil Shetty and Sohail Khan, which also underperformed at the box office.

Recognition and success

In 2004, Abraham played the role of Kabir, the main antagonist in Dhoom, an action film directed by Sanjay Gadhvi, and produced by Yash Raj Films, multi-starring Abhishek Bachchan, Esha Deol, Uday Chopra and Rimi Sen. The film was the third highest-grossing film of the year,[66] which gained him a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role nomination.

In 2005, he starred with Arjun Rampal in the crime thriller Elaan, which failed at the box office. He followed with the supernatural thriller Kaal and the comedy Garam Masala both of which did well at the box office.[66] Later that year, he had a role in Water, which portrayed the tragic fate of Hindu widows in British India of the 1930s. The film was written and directed by independent Canadian film-maker Deepa Mehta. It was popular internationally, and was nominated for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 79th Academy Awards. Abraham attended the ceremony along with the film's crew and makers but the film lost to Germany's The Lives of Others.[66]

In the summer of 2006, Abraham performed at the "Rockstars Concert" along with fellow Bollywood actors Salman Khan, Zayed Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Esha Deol, Shahid Kapoor and Mallika Sherawat. In that same year, he starred in the films Zinda, Taxi No. 9211, Baabul and Kabul Express.[66] Among these Taxi No. 9211 and Kabul Express were substantially successful. John Abraham's performance in Taxi No. 9211 was praised by critics, noting that his performances to be maturing with each new film. Nikhil Advani's multi-starrer Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to Love was Abraham's first release in 2007. The movie failed to do well at the Indian box office,[67] though it did well in the overseas markets. His last two 2007 releases included the thriller No Smoking, his next release was the sports film Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal in which he was totally in a new look with a haircut and a good physique. The song "Rumana" with his ex-girlfriend Bipasha Basu was a hit song of that year.

In 2008, Abraham starred alongside Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra in Dostana, his only release that year. His first release of 2009 was a production by Yash Raj Films, New York.

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Abraham with Deepika Padukone during Desi Boyz promotions, 2011.

He has a fashion line - branded JA Clothes - which primarily features his favorite article of clothing, jeans.

In 2010, he was seen in the films Aashayein and Jhootha Hi Sahi. Both of the films turned out to be box office failures. Lately, Abraham has appeared in the films Force (2011), Desi Boyz (2011) and Housefull 2 (2012). His first film of 2013 was the multi-starrer Race 2 which was commercially successful, though his second release, the coming-of-age romantic comedy I, Me Aur Main, underperformed at the box office. His next release was Shootout at Wadala, in which he portrayed the role of gangster Manya Surve, which gained positive reviews. The film emerged as a success at the box office. Then his movie Madras Cafe, which also is a second movie for him as a producer, garnered much critical acclaim, also the collections of the movie saw an upward trend after terrific word-of-mouth. His next release was Welcome Back, which was successful at the box office. In 2016, his first release was Rocky Handsome which didn't do well at the box office. Then, his second release of the year was Dishoom, despite mixed to negative reviews, the film was a commercial success and made over 100 crores. His next release of the year was Force 2, the sequel of the 2011 movie Force. Force 2 became the highest opening film for John and opened with mixed to positive reviews. John Abraham's performance received praise from the audience and critics. He has also confirmed the sequel Force 3, shooting will commence in the middle of 2017.

Producer

Abraham's debut as a producer was titled Vicky Donor (2012) and the film featured Ayushmann Khurrana, Annu Kapoor and Yami Gautam in lead roles. Abraham also appeared in an item-number for the film. It opened to positive response, and turned out to be a critical and commercial success. His second production, Madras Cafe which is also directed by Shoojit Sircar, opened to overwhelming response from the critics.

Social causes

Abraham also takes an active interest in the United Way, a Christian evangelical organization based in Denver, United States. In January 2009, he flagged off the Mumbai Marathon, an annual event organized to benefit the United Way. He did not run the marathon, but encouraged the participants by waving at them from the start line.

Unusually for someone of his religious background, Abraham is a vegetarian. He is an animal lover and takes an interest in PETA and Habitat for Humanity.[67][67] In April 2013, on behalf of PETA, Abraham wrote a letter to the Minister for Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan, asking that she make all circuses in India animal-free.[67]

John is also the celebrity supporter of UNHCR India, and promotes the cause of refugees in India.[67] According to his website, he donated 1 Lakh (about $ 1500) to the Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai.[67]

Personal life

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Varun Dhawan, Jacqueline and John Abraham during Dishoom promotions in 2016.

During the filming of Jism in 2002, Abraham began to date his co-star Bipasha Basu.[67] They were in a relationship until early 2011.[67] While together, the two were often referred to as a supercouple in the Indian media. Abraham once stated, "I have always kept quiet about my personal life and will continue to maintain a dignified silence. It's just the way my parents raised me. I rather leave it at speculation."[67]

Abraham is now married to Priya Runchal, an NRI financial analyst and investment banker from the USA but native to McLeod Ganj, whom he met in Mumbai, in December 2010. They married on 3 January 2014 and had a celebration in Los Angeles.[10] Abraham is an agnostic atheist.[23][10][10]

Filmography

Key
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Abraham with Rahul Bose (middle) at the press conference of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in 2013

Actor

YearFilmCharacter NameNotes
2003JismKabir LalNominated – Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut
2003Saaya (2003 film)Dr. Akash/ "Akki"
2003PaapInspector Shiven
2004AetbaarAryan Trivedi
2004Lakeer - Forbidden LinesSaahil
2004DhoomKabirNominated – Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role
2004MadhoshiAman
2005ElaanAbhimanyu
2005KaramJohn
2005KaalKrish Thapar
2005ViruddhAmar Patwardhan
2005WaterNarayan
2005Garam MasalaShyam / "Sam"
2005ShikharHimselfSpecial appearance
2006ZindaRohit ChopraNominated – Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role
2006Taxi No. 9211Jai Mittal
2006Kabhi Alvida Naa KehnaDJSpecial Appearance in "Where's The Party Tonight"
2006BaabulRajatNominated – Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor
2006Kabul ExpressSuhel Khan
2007Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute to LoveAshutosh Raina
2007HattrickHimselfSpecial appearance in the song "Wicket Bacha"
2007No SmokingK
2007Dhan Dhana Dhan GoalSunny Bhasin
2008DostanaKunal Chopra
2009Luck by ChanceHimselfSpecial appearance
2009Little ZizouArjunSpecial appearance
2009New YorkSamir / "Sam"
2010AashayeinRahul Sharma
2010Jhootha Hi SahiSid
20117 Khoon MaafJimmy Stetson
2011Mere Brother Ki DulhanHimselfSpecial appearance
2011ForceACP Yashvardhan Singh
2011Desi BoyzNick Mathur / "Hunter"
2012Housefull 2Max
2012Vicky DonorHimselfSpecial appearance in the song "Rum Whisky"
2013Race 2Armaan Malik
2013I, Me, aur MainIshaan Sabharwal
2013Shootout at WadalaManya SurveGangster
2013Madras CafeVikram SinghIndian Army Officer
2015Welcome BackAjju Bhai
2016WazirSPSpecial Appearance
2016Rocky HandsomeKabir Ahlawat / Rocky / Handsome
2016DishoomKabir Shergill
2016Force 2ACP Yashvardhan Singh
2018Parmanu: The Story Of Pokhran Film has yet to be releasedTBAPost-production

Producer

YearFilmNotes
2012Vicky DonorNational Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Film
2013Madras Cafe
2016Rocky Handsome
2016Force 2

Awards and nominations

Film awards

YearFunctionAwardFilmResult
2013National Film AwardsNational Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome EntertainmentVicky DonorWon
2013Asiavision AwardsIcon of India for his contribution to Indian cinema as an actor and producerWon
2013Filmfare AwardsFilmfare Award for Best FilmVicky DonorNominated
2008Star Screen AwardsStar Screen Award Jodi No. 1DostanaWon
2007Filmfare AwardsFilmfare Award for Best Supporting ActorBaabulNominated
2007IIFA AwardsIIFA Best Villain AwardZindaNominated
2007Zee Cine AwardsZee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Negative RoleZindaNominated
2007Bollywood Movie AwardsBollywood Movie Award - Best Supporting ActorBaabulNominated
2006Filmfare AwardsFilmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative RoleZindaNominated
2006IIFA AwardsIIFA Best Supporting Actor AwardGaram MasalaNominated
2006Global Indian Film AwardsGIFA Best VillainZindaNominated
2005Filmfare AwardsFilmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative RoleDhoomNominated
2005IIFA AwardsIIFA Best Villain AwardDhoomWon
2005Zee Cine AwardsZee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Negative RoleDhoomWon
2005Stardust AwardsStardust Superstar of Tomorrow - MalePaapWon
2004Filmfare AwardsFilmfare Award for Best Male DebutJismNominated
2004Bollywood Movie AwardsBollywood Movie Award – Best Male DebutJismWon

Other recognitions

YearAwardResultNotes
2006Rajiv Gandhi Award for his achievement in BollywoodWon[10]
2007Giant International Awards for his contribution to Indian cinemaWon[10]
2008Sexiest Asian ManWon[10]
2009Lions Club AwardWon[10]
2011India's Sexiest Bachelor by the BIG CBS PRIMEWon[10]
2012Most Stylish Man – GQ Awards (India)Won[10]