John is playing Manohar Arjun Surve alias Manya Surve, a member of the Mumbai underworld who was gunned down in the encounter with police at suburban Wadala in 1982, in what is said to be the city's first recorded encounter.
"I think 'Shootout at Wadala' will only do good... Positive thing for me. The film is a re-introduction of John Abraham. I am hopeful that people will see me in a different perspective. It is a very special film for me", John said in a media interaction here. The 40-year-old actor said he was hopeful that his role will bring around a perceptible change in his career as so happened with Dutt. "For me this film is like Sanjay Dutt's 'Vaastav' which presented Sanjay in a different way and did wonders for him.
I am hoping the same", he said. Directed by Sanjay Gupta, 'Shootout at Wadala' casts John, Anil Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Tusshar Kapoor and Sonu Sood in the lead roles. The film is scheduled for May 1 release.
Dutt had won the Filmfare best actor award in 2000 for his role in 'Vaastav', directed by Mahesh Manjarekar. The film was a riveting success in India as well as overseas. John said Dutt's character in 'Vasstav' was amazing. "Sanju's character is path-breaking for me. He got more recongnition... Hope audience accepts me", he said.
John, who has mostly played the roles of an urban guy, revealed that he was in two minds initially before stepping into the shoes of the gangster. "I was scared as I have most of the time played urban cool guy be it in 'Dostana', 'Desi Boyz', 'Dhoom'. It is a big but positive change for me. In an actor's life span there has to be progression. It is the audience that will decide the fate of the film", the actor said.
John said he met classmates of Manya Surve and the then ACP Isaque Bagwan who was in the hit squad that took out the gangster in 1982. "We had Hussain Zaidi (journalist and writer) on the sets of the film and he guided us pretty well.
There are only two file photos of Manya Surve -- a passport size photo and after the encounter there was another picture of him... What we could learn from photo is his look", he said. John said Surve was a ruthless gangster who did not spare even his classmates. "We spoke to Isaque Bagwan (in the film the character is played by Anil Kapoor) who gave us a lot of information.
We did extensive research on Surve. He was a body builder, tough and ruthless. We also met his college friends and his classmates. In 1979 to 1982 he was ruling Bombay. He did not spare his classmates", the actor said. John said the action in 'Shootout at Wadala' was rough and real unlike the "monkey kind of action" displayed in contemporary films.
"I did 'Race 2' where there were good and interesting action sequences... I think after 'Ghayal' the raw and real action is performed in the 'Shootout.... Today, we see a lot of kung fu, monkey kind of action where people fly and all. But the action in this film is real", he said. Responding to a query John said that marriage of Underworld and Bollywood was long over with the entry points of black money into the industry becoming redundant.
"When I came in 2003, most of it (Underworld) was cleared... There was nothing like that. I have not experienced any such thing. We deal in white money. We don't have black money as we are paid by corporate ventures. The underworld thing did not happen to me in my life and I am happy about it. I don't think it exists anymore in Bollywood", the actor added.