John Abraham is an Indian film actor, film producer and former model who appears in Hindi films.
After modelling for numerous advertisements and companies, he made his film debut with Jism, which earned him a Filmfare Best Debut Award nomination. This was followed by his first commercial success, Dhoom.
- Full name: John Abraham
- Profession: Indian actor
- Born: 17 December 1972 (age 47 years), Aluva, India
- Height: 1.82 m
- Spouse: Priya Runchal (m. 2014)
- Upcoming movies: Mumbai Saga, Attack, Hera Pheri 3
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About John Abraham
Abraham was born on 17 December 1972 into a family of mixed religious and ethnic heritage. His father is a Malayali Protestant Syrian Christian from Kerala and his mother is an Irani with roots in Gujarat.
Abraham’s Zoroastrian name is “Farhan”, but he was baptized with the name “John.” He has a younger brother named Alan Abraham.
He considers himself a spiritual person but does not follow any particular religion. Abraham grew up in Mumbai and studied at the upmarket Bombay Scottish School in Mahim, Mumbai.
He attended Jai Hind College, University of Mumbai, and then got an MBA from Mumbai Educational Trust. His cousin Susy Matthew is an author and has written novels like “In A Bubble Of Time”.
Abraham started his modelling career appearing in the music video of the song of Punjabi singer Jazzy B.
He then joined the media firm and Time & Space Media Entertainment Promotions Ltd., which however closed because of financial problems. Later, he worked for Enterprises-Nexus as a media planner.
In 1999, he won the Gladrags Manhunt Contest and went to the Philippines for Manhunt International, where he won second place.
He later modeled in Hong Kong, London and New York City, and 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.
Debut and struggle
Considered “the top model of India before he ventured into films”, 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.
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”.
In the same year, Abraham appeared in Anurag Basu’s horror paranormal romance film Saaya alongside Tara Sharma and Mahima Chaudhry.
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!”
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 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, which gained him a Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Negative Role nomination.
In 2005, he starred in the action thrillers Elaan and Karam, both of 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.
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.
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.
Among these Taxi No. 9211 and Kabul Express were substantially successful. 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, 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 sported a new look. 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.
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 film Force.
Force 2 became the highest opening film for Abraham and opened with mixed to positive reviews.
Abraham’s performance received praise from the audience and critics. He next films in 2018 were the action films Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran with Diana Penty & Boman Irani and Satyameva Jayate with Manoj Bajpayee & Neha Sharma’s younger sister Aisha Sharma.
In 2019, he starred in the action thrillers Romeo Akbar Walter and Batla House.
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.
Abraham with Rahul Bose (middle) at the press conference of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in 2013.
Abraham also takes an active interest in the United Way, based in Denver, United States.
In January 2009, he flagged off the Mumbai Marathon, an annual event organised 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.
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.
Abraham is also the celebrity supporter of UNHCR India, and promotes the cause of refugees in India.
According to his website, he donated ₹ 10 Lakh (about $ 15000) to the Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai.
During the filming of Jism in 2002, Abraham began to date his co-star Bipasha Basu.
They were in a relationship until early 2011. 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.”
The couple broke up and Bipasha is now married to Bollywood actor Karan Singh Grover.
Abraham is now married to Priya Runchal, an NRI financial analyst and investment banker from the US 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.