On their first day of shooting Bollywood action-adventure movie Dishoom in Abu Dhabi, stars John Abraham and Varun Dhawan took time out to chat to The National about the film and their visit to the capital.
They had just shot a scene on one of the luxury superyachts docked at the Yas Marina and were eating lunch with their co-star, Akshay Khanna, enjoying the views over the water at Iris restaurant.
The noise of the revving engines at Yas Marina Curcuit could be heard in the background, but Abraham didn’t seem to mind.
“I love the sound of the cars whizzing by – I think we are at the right place,” he said. “It’s a man’s dream. I am really enjoying this place. This is only our first day of shooting but so far it’s been a lot of fun.”
Abrahams revealed that he plans to indulge his love of fast cars on the circuit as soon as he has a gap in his shooting schedule.
“January 27 is an off day for me and I’ll be here in the Yas Marina Circuit for three hours,” he says. “I’m going to be driving around in a Nissan GTR. I like fast cars and the Nissan GTR is legendary – its called the Godzilla because it’s a supercar killer.”
Most of the time he has off while the film is shooting in Abu for the next 45 days will be spent back home in India, however.
“The off that I get, I travel back to Mumbai and Delhi,” he says.
Abraham also shot his last film, Welcome Back, in Abu Dhabi, and in Dubai, and he is keen to make more movies in the capital.
“We shot Welcome Back in the Emirates Palace,” he says. “The people are nice and Abu Dhabi is obviously a very shooting-friendly place so it’s great to be shooting in a place that’s so good for that.
“I’m also a producer, so it gives me more food for thought to come here and shoot some films in the future here.”
The trailer for another of Abraham’s upcoming movies, Rocky Handsome, had over a million views on YouTube in the first two days it was up, and he says working with his young co-star, Diya Chalwad, was an unexpected pleasure.
“I really enjoyed working with her,” he says. “She’s a good kid and she makes you believe that working with children is not difficult at all – because you always hear that it is very difficult to work with children, but she was fantastic.”
Abraham has clearly been making sure his body is in tiptop condition for his role in Dishoom.
“The role demands that I am buffed so I have to stay in shape, control my carbs, increase my protein, make sure that I work out hard, increase my workouts,” he says. “Varun and I have been going to the gym every day, working out. We are here for 40 days so we have a good time, just hanging around and working out.”
Dhawan recently injured his knee in India, but says that it has not affected his work on set off Dishoom.
“I had injured my knee some time back, but I’m better,” he says. “I am in training with John over here because we have a bare-body sequence at the end of the month. So I have until then – I have 45 days.
“John is my fitness instructor now – you don’t need a fitness instructor when you have John. We have Jacqueline [Fernandez] also, who trains us – she holds Zumba classes. We even pay a fee, she charges us.”
“Varun passes that class with flying colours,” adds Abraham, with a smile. “I’m not so keen – if you see Varun dance, he’s an absolutely fantastic dancer, so Zumba comes very naturally to him. But when you’re moving 94kg around, it’s a little bit hard.”
“But John will come and do zumba with us,” Varun adds, jokingly nudging his co-star.
Dhawan reveals that his most hair raising scene for Dishoom involves him hanging in mid-air from Abrahams: “John will be hanging from a helicopter, and I will be hanging from John.”
He explains that the pair play police officers, and confirmed reports that he has been learning to speak Arabic for the role.
“I’m trying to learn a few words of Arabic,” he says. “I’m playing a character that’s based in Abu Dhabi – he was born and brought up here. So I keep recording my driver who drives me around.
“He keeps teaching me a few words, such as ‘madri vasha’, and ‘kaif haal’, which means how are you doing, yallah, habibi – there’s a whole scene for which I have to learn it, which we are going to shoot when we go back to India, so for a whole month I’m going to train and learn Arabic by heart.”
Dishoom marks the first time Dhawan has filmed in Abu Dhabi.
“I love it,” he says. “I was here before, for an awards ceremony, but that’s it. It’s going to be a lot of fun I think. John and me already shot a few bits of the film so our chemistry is kind of set anyway.
“They don’t have places like Abu Dhabi in India right now. We are at the marina, we are all over, shooting – the Sheikh Zayed Stadium – they are such beautiful, gigantic structures, and they make great film locations. “And the people are very beautiful – John likes them, if I can say that. They are very friendly.”
Source: art & life