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John Abraham inspired by refugees' tales

June 23, 2015

The actor-producer insists that his films will be commercial but will send out strong messages. 

Celebrity ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), John Abraham, on Saturday lunched with Barlin, a Somalian refugee who is now an Indian social worker, Sri Lankan refugees Divya and her sister, currently residing in Tamil Nadu, the Rohingyas from Myanmar and a few Afghani and Iranian refugees.

And the 42-year-old actor-producer is inspired to make a film about refugees in India because cinema is the best voice to express their plight. "India is a great country and we are accommodating as many people as we can. But Divya and her sister still had to seek special permission from the Tamil Nadu government to come and visit me today. The youth needs to be aware of such permissions that refugees need to seek," he pointed out, addressing the little-known fact that refugees need special documentation.

John, who turned producer with Vicky Donor, is very clear that he wants to make mainstream cinema. "My films too will be in the commercial format but I want to get a message across," he insists.

Back in 2006, John and Kabir Khan had shot a film in Afghanistan soon after the Taliban had been overthrown by the ISAF, a group of countries headed by the US. "While I was there, I saw a lot of Afghanis leave their country and flee to neighbouring countries like India. Since, then I've been inspired to make real-life stories," he reveals. His last production, Madras Cafe, explored the Sri Lankan crises, the assassination of our late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and the plight of refugees in India today.

"As an actor and producer, I will only do films that are close to my heart, film which carry a lot of weight and are meaningful," he asserts.

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