September 21, 2010 (Sampurn Wire): John Abraham has come a long way with a lot of ‘Ashayein’ since his ‘Jism’ days (No pun intended please). After doing a spate of hardcore commercial films like ‘Dhoom’, ‘Kaal’, ‘Garam Masala’, ‘Salaam – E – Ishq’ albeit a comedy film, ‘Babul’ ‘New York’, ‘Dostana’ et al he has also dabbled with middle – of – the – road cinema like ‘Water’, ‘Paap’, ‘No Smoking’, ‘Little Zizou’, ‘Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal’, ‘Zinda’, ‘Kabul Express’ et al.
So after proving his histrionics prowess, and also proving the adage wrong that models can’t act for nuts, perhaps he has self consciously decided to turn over a new leaf by adding a musical feather to his illustrious career. In an exclusive chat with Sampurn Wire’s Shaheen Raaj, John updates us on a lesser known interest of his – a collaboration (more of a feature appearance) in a music album by Fusion Artist Isheeta Ganguly on her latest project ‘Damaru’.
To set the ball rolling, why don’t you tell us about the circumstances behind your decision to indulge in a music project?
First of all let me say that it was my chance meeting with the fusion Singer Isheeta Ganguly from Kolkata who inspired me a lot with her proficiency in Rabrindra Sangeet. Then one thing led to another and I decided to be a part of her 8th Studio CD Album titled ‘Damaru’.
Obviously, this chance meeting must have taken place in Kolkata?
Yes! It was a bash at a common friend of Bipasha’s. But we did meet in New York too while I was filming for my movie ‘New York’ in New York. (Laughs)
So when did you decide to collaborate with her for the album ‘Damaru’?
It was much later… but wait a minute… let me clarify that I have not sung any song for her album. In fact, I have just given a voiceover for the album, albeit in a lyrical way.
Fair Enough. What attracted you to ‘Damaru’ and working with Isheeta?
I think she is a very prolific singer. She has a very sweet voice. A good sense of lyrics and music. She has a good command not only as far as Rabindra Sangeet is concerned but also in western jazz and pop. What attracted me to the project? Of course, Isheeta herself as a singer. Then the very sweet Indian name, the titled of the album ‘Damaru’ itself. I would say it is a crossover album which has, apart from Rabindra sangeet, the Indian folk pop, classical, lounge and elektronika. Its main tracks have been arranged by Bollywood Composer Shantanu Moitra, Grammy Award Winner Percussionist Tanmay Bose, U. S. Based elektronika Producer Phil Levy, guest performances by percussionists Tanmoy Bose and Bikram ghosh. It has songs in English, Hindi and Bengali and of course the major star attraction is the voiceover by yours truly, John Abraham. Err… Just joking!
Well, this album is the first time we’re hearing of John Abraham getting involved with music. Have you ever lent your voice for a film or an album before?
(Smiles) No! Never… not that I can remember.
Would you… if given an opportunity?
No! I don’t think so. Waise bhi I can call myself a bathroom singer at best. If you ever hear me sing, you’ll probably feel the same way! Besides I am much happier being an actor.
‘Damaru’ was released in Mumbai by Times Music in August and will be launched on 6th October in New York by the Indo-American Arts Council. Will you be attending the launch?
As of now, I have given her my verbal promise to attend the launch to encourage her and also give a morale boost to her and her album. Let’s see if I can get excused from my other prior commitments. Whether Bipasha and I are able to attend the launch or not, we both wish her best of luck, from the bottom of our hearts.
You are such a sweetheart. Finally, when, where, and how can we see more of John Abraham? Reel out the names of your forthcoming films.
Haha. Here you go; ‘Hook Ya Crook’ (David Dhawan), probably shelved, ‘Race 2’ (Abbas Mustaan), ‘Exclusion’. But ‘Phillum City’ (Deven Khote) mein ‘Alibaba Aur 41 Chor’ ko ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’ (Vishaal Bhardhwaj) chahe ‘Jhoota Hi Sahi’ (Abbas Tyrewala). How’s that?
Truly a pleasure, as always.
— Shaheen Raaj / Sampurn Wire