Actor-producer John Abraham’s latest film Parmanu reveals the story behind the nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by the Indian Army at Pokhran in 1998, which made the country a nuclear power. The film also stars Diana Penty and Boman Irani. It releases on May 25.
Before we settle down to talk, John Abraham asks if I will watch his latest production venture Parmanu. Giving him a nod, I begin by asking him why he thought of making a film on how India became a nuclear power, 20 years after the historical event, and he says because it was important.
Parmanu revolves around the nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by the Indian Army at Pokhran in 1998. Revealing this and much more about what went behind telling the thrilling story, John in interview with indianexpress said, “Parmanu is based on a true story. 90 percent of the plot is factual. The only fictitious elements are the names which we have changed of some people because we got rights and biopic issues. Like in Madras Café, my character was fictional, so it is in Parmanu. You need to tell the story from someone’s eyes.”
In Parmanu, John also plays the lead. So how was it donning multiple roles? “It’s a lot of people who put this mission together. So having a fantastic cast, having a fantastic production crew, I didn’t feel the pressure of being a producer or an actor,” he said.
Parmanu also stars Diana Penty, Boman Irani, Vikas Gupta and Yogendra Tiku among others. Director Abhishek Sharma came up with the idea and shared it with John, who quickly agreed to produce it too. However, in the past few weeks, Parmanu faced a lot of production and release issues. The film made news due to a clash between co-producers JA Entertainment and KriArj Entertainment. This led to its release date getting shifted from May 4 to May 25. This, after it was already postponed in December 2017 and then in February 2018.
Clearing the air about the entire trouble and how the box office performance wasn’t his concern, John explained, “Yes, there have been talks of dates announced. Two of the dates I wasn’t even a part of. Those dates were announced by a producer who isn’t a part of this film anymore. So, things happened in the middle. They were tough. I think the collateral damage, I always say, is we don’t have enough time to market a film. To educate the audience that Parmanu means atom, ‘parmanu pareekshan’ means atomic tests, nuclear tests. And then you need to take things back to 20 years ago, May 11, and say this is what made India a superpower. This is why it is cool to be an Indian. So we don’t have that kind of time but nevertheless, better late than never.
“We are happy we are releasing this film in the month of May when the tests actually happened 20 years ago. So, sometimes things happen for the best. At the end of the day, box office tells how good or bad your film is, but yes, opening is how good or bad your marketing is. We are trying our best now to make ends meet and I think we are doing a pretty decent job and the buzz around the trailer is very positive,” remarked John.
John’s previous films Force 2 and Dishoom and his upcoming releases Satyamev Jayate and Batla House feature the actor playing men in uniform. So, is it his latest liking for the attire or just a coincidence? Hinting that he doesn’t really wear a uniform in Parmanu as there is a twist in the tale, he said, “I just think I go by the script and the story and coincidently my four really good films, starting with Parmanu, Satyamev Jayate, RAW and Batla House, all have me associated with some kind of uniform. Diana and I aren’t supposed to be in a uniform. When you see Parmanu, there is a surprise factor. But that you need to see the film to figure out yourself.”
John Abraham plays the role of Captain Ashwat Rana in Parmanu. “We believe Parmanu is a very fast engaging thriller. So, go and enjoy the roller coaster ride. At the end of it when you walk out, you’ll feel proud to be an Indian. That’s all I can say,” he signed off.