One of the most popular leading men in the post-2000 Bollywood film market, actor John Abraham parlayed his modeling career into a successful run as a star of action thrillers and romantic dramas lik...
Mumbai, Maharashtra, IN
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|First feature film, "Jism"|
|Debut as producer with "Vicky Donor"|
|Wins Gladrags Manhunt competition in India|
|Launches fashion line, JA Clothes, with support from Wrangler Jeans|
|First hit film, "Dhoom"|
Born December 17, 1972 in Mumbai, India, John Abraham was the son of South Indian architect Abraham John and his wife, Firoza Irani, a member of the country's Parsi community, which originally hailed from Iran. Abraham's Anglicized name was the result of his father's Syrian Christian heritage, which bestowed a father's family name onto his son as a surname. He excelled at sports while a student at Bombay Scottish School at Mumbai, and initially pursued a career in advertising after graduating from Jai Hind College. But Abraham changed his focus to modeling after a fashion client suggested that he could more effectively sell their product in front of the camera. He won top honors at the highly publicized Gladrags Manhunt modeling competition in 1999 before finishing as first runner-up in the international edition. From there, he worked steadily for Cary Models in Singapore before landing assignments in Hong Kong and New York. During this period, Abraham also began studying acting at the Kishore Namit Kapoor acting institute. He then made his feature film debut in "Jism "(2003), a thriller based on Lawrence Kasdan's "Body Heat" (1981), which in turn, drew inspiration from Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" (1944). A modest hit at the box office, the picture gave Abraham his first Filmfare nomination for Best Male Debut, but more importantly, introduced him to fellow model-turned-actress Bipasha Basu, who played the femme fatale who lured Abraham's hapless lawyer into a murder plot. The duo became a high-profile celebrity couple, commanding considerable media coverage over the course of their eight-year relationship.
Abraham was soon in demand as a leading man in uncomplicated, crowd-pleasing fare like the supernatural thriller "Saaya" (2003) and the sudsy romance "Paap" (2004). He finally earned his breakout hit with "Dhoom" (2004), the first installment in the hugely popular action franchise starring his former school classmate, Abhishek Bachchan, as a dogged police detective on the trail of a motorcycle gang led by Abraham. The film, which netted over $12 million worldwide, firmly established Abraham as a box office attraction in the highly competitive Indian film market. More hits in a wide variety of genres soon followed, from the horror film "Kaal" (2005) and the broad comedy "Garam Masala" (2005) to the Canadian-made arthouse favorite "Water" (2005), which netted an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. Abraham continued in this pattern for the remainder of the early 2000s, alternating between mainstream efforts like the portmanteau romantic drama "Salaam-e-Ishq" (2007) and more independent-minded films like the thriller "No Smoking" (2007), though in the case of both films, the results were often mixed. He rebounded with the comedy "Dostana" (2008) while also branching into fashion with his own line, JA Clothes.
Despite his popularity, Abraham struggled to break away from the handsome leading man mold on several occasions. Unfortunately, these attempts, like the 2010 drama "Aashayein," which cast him as a compulsive gambler, and the comedy "Jhootha Hi Sahi" (2010), which saw Abraham trim down his chiseled form to play a bookstore employee, were met with disinterest by global audiences. He soon returned to playing men of action in "Force" (2011) and romantic leads with a penchant for shirtless emoting in "Desi Boyz" (2011). During this period, his long-standing relationship with Bipasha Basu also came to an end, much to the dismay of the Indian media, which had generated countless print pages and photographs of the "super couple." That same year, he began seeing investment banker Priya Runchal.
The following year, he took a leap of faith by launching his own production company, John Abraham Entertainment, which generated headlines with its first production, "Vicky Donor" (2012), a low-budget comedy about sperm donors. To the surprise of many, the film was a huge critical and commercial success while also netting a Filmfare Award nomination for Best Popular Film in 2013 as well as a prestigious National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment that same year. Buoyed by its success, Abraham launched two more productions, including the political thriller "Madras Café" (2013). But his most substantive success during this period was his turn in "Shootout at Wadala" (2013) as the real-life gangster Manya Surve, whose 1982 death at the hands of Mumbai police was the first recorded "encounter killing," or fatal law enforcement shooting, in the city's history. Abraham was initially unsure if he could accurately portray the morally complicated character, which he viewed as diametrically opposite to his action hero screen persona. But his performance received mostly positive reviews, which in turn helped to buoy the film at both the domestic and worldwide box offices. He then returned to the big-budget action films on which he had made his name with "Race 2" (2013), which earned more than $18 million in India alone.
|Performed with fellow Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor at 2006 "Rockstars Concert"|
|Appeared in numerous music videos for Indian pop stars like Jazzy B, Pankaj Udhas and Hans Raj|
|His fashion line, JA Clothes, focuses primarily on his favorite article of clothing, jeans|
|Suffered a broken nose in a childhood accident|
|First language is English, but also speaks the Gujarati language (spoken by more than 55 million people worldwide) and some German|
|Habitat for Humanity supporter|
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