Football, race relations, and a fight for redemption are the ingredients of John Abraham’s new feature, Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal, directed by Vivek Agnihotri. His performance in this story about an underperforming football club’s attempt to make it to the big league comes on the heels of director Anurag Kashyap’s cryptic thriller No Smoking—which Abraham described as a “thriller with elements of dark humour”—and it’s obvious that Abraham is a man of varied compulsions and tastes.
Just as much as the roster of movies he makes is made up of eclectic films, pure thrillers and dramas don’t figure in the Jism and Kabul Express actor’s list of movies to watch either; his Top 5 leans towards the abstract and edgy. “I like films that give me something to think about; films that answer questions through concepts that they have chosen to attack in a film,” he says.
On the cards for this muscleman, post-Goal, is Sriram Raghavan’s next production, which also stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and another for producer Karan Johar.
But on his days off, here’s what gets his mind in a whirl.
Apocalypto (2006): This film is among my Top 10 favourites. I would even say that today Mel Gibson is my favourite director. A Hollywood film told completely in a foreign language, and still each character is so relatable. Even though you are in an unknown world, you care about these characters. I get goosebumps just talking about it. Rudy Youngblood, who plays the main character of Jaguar Paw, is in ‘Luna’ (directed by Deepa Mehta) with me, Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz. He plays another activist.
Films written by Charlie Kaufman, such as Being John Malkovich (1999) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): ‘No Smoking’ was close to ‘Being John Malkovich’ in genre. I like films that give you a reason to think, films that disturb you and alter your mind. ‘Eternal Sunshine…’ is one of my favourite films because it is so strong conceptually. Imagine being able to erase your memory in order to get over pain.
True Romance (1993): I am fascinated by quirks, such as youthful rebellion—which came across in a layman’s way in ‘Dhoom’, and is seen in a more complex way in Tony Scott’s ‘True Romance’. Like in the scene where Christian Slater beats up the girl’s pimp, she whimpers and says: “You…you beat him up? That’s so romantic.”
Memento (2000): Films like this blow your mind and then you are stuck and don’t know what to think. This film is about memory loss. What if you were in a situation like that? It’s so challenging for the maker and the viewer, who starts living the life of the character.
The Life of David Gale (2003): I love this film because it’s a very socially relevant issue that needs to be addressed on a more public platform. Though there is no doubt that euthanasia is not the solution, there needs to be debate on the subject.
Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal released on Friday.