After Salman Khan (Ek Tha Tiger) and Saif Ali Khan (Agent Vinod), it's time for John Abraham to play an intelligence agent. TWF correspondent Sreya Basu in conversation with the actor in Mumbai as he hopes high on Shoojit Sircar's Madras Cafe, his second venture as a producer. IBNS | 2 years ago

Now that you have joined the league of stars playing RAW agents, what new aspect of an intelligence officer can we see in Madras Cafe?

This is the first time you will see an intelligence officer on screen as they actually are. There is no sense of heroism. In fact, there are two-three characters in the film which have been played by actual RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agents, who have retired. But of course, you won't be able to make out who they are.

What did you learn from them?

I have learnt a lot from them. Real RAW agents don't jump off the buildings like Spiderman. They don't show six-pack abs around. They are very regular people like you and me. They know how to be so normal that if one of them sits beside you in a cinema hall, you will never know. So for Madras Cafe we had to normalize a lot of things. I had to work on my body language as well as my dialogue delivery so that I don't sound like a hero. Shoojit had done enough research to make me look like a true intelligence officer. The first thing he told me was "Lose all the weight you have got and look like a regular guy."

In most of your films, there is at least one scene showing you riding a classy bike. Do we have such a scene here as well?

Yes, I have driven bikes in this film as well, only that I got simple motorcycles and scooters to ride.

You had to learn a lot of languages for the film. True?

Yes. I had to pick up some Tamil, Sinhalese and Thai among others. We always had a language coach wherever we went to shoot - be it in Sri Lanka, Bangkok or Chennai. We were very clear that the dialect has to be right.

How real are the action sequences in Madras Cafe?

In Hindi films, we usually use blank bullets. But in Madras Cafe we have used real bullets and LMGs (light machine guns). We have kept everything as authentic and real as possible.

What are your expectations from Madras Cafe as a producer?

I just hope there are enough people to watch intelligent films like Madras Cafe. It is a sensible film full of creative content. With Vicky Donor (2012) we created content. The same goes for Madras Cafe. This is no proposal. There are no songs and dance. This is a serious film. This is a true honest film that we can see as Indians and also show the West that even we can make a film like this.

Shootout at Wadala, now Madras Cafe and another crime film with Abhishek Bachchan, are you turning to serious, content based films?

I am doing comedy as well ... there's Welcome Back [a sequel to Welcome (2007)] and Dostana 2 [a sequel to Dostana (2008)], which Karan (Johar, filmmaker) will announce soon. It's important for an actor to do films of every genre. But my heart is with Madras Cafe as we have worked for six-seven years on the film and that is when in-between Vicky Donor was born. So Madras Cafe is a special child for us.

(Posted on 13-07-2013)