Did you know Anurag Kashyap's Ugly was initially titled No Smoking with John Abraham in lead? Here’s why it didn’t happen

Recently, Anurag Kashyap recalled how he had an idea of making film with John Abraham while traveling in a rickshaw on his way to meet the actor.

Updated on Jun 29, 2024  |  05:46 PM IST |  54K
John Abraham and Anurag Kashyap
Picture Courtesy: John Abraham and Anurag Kashyap/Instagram

Anurag Kashyap, known for his versatility, recently shared how he wanted to make a movie titled No Smoking with John Abraham. He got the idea for a film while traveling in a rickshaw to meet John.

However, the actor declined the initial concept of a "bad actor" role in No Smoking, noting that it reinforced existing perceptions of him and expressed a desire for a role that allowed him to showcase his acting abilities instead. 

Anurag Kashyap reveals he wanted to make Ugly with John Abraham

According to Indian Express, Anurag Kashyap recounted the origins of his film No Smoking. He revealed that the concept was centered on a self-obsessed, narcissistic chain smoker, who agrees to kick his habit to save his marriage. He said that it was inspired by his own life, as people around him were urging him to quit filmmaking due to the difficulties his movies faced in getting released.

Anurag further mentioned that he was in a different frame of mind when he first got the idea of No Smoking. He mentioned that Vishal Bhardwaj, who had just made Omkara, offered to produce a film for him, asking if he had a script. Kashyap had No Smoking ready. 

Kashyap, in a desperate state with no money upon suggested by fellow friends to cast John in the movie, immediately agrees to meet him. It was during this rickshaw ride to Abraham's residence that Kashyap began thinking of a new idea for the actor.


Kashyap noted that the story of No Smoking was already on his mind as it paralleled his life, but he was unsure who would take on the role. While in the rickshaw, he started thinking about a story involving a bad actor out of work. Despite not having seen any of Abraham's films, he had heard people criticize Abraham's acting skills.

When he met John Abraham, however, he found him to be amazing. He pitched the idea of No Smoking to Abraham, who, to Kashyap's surprise, liked it. Abraham, acknowledging the negative perception of his acting, asked for a role where he could truly perform. Abraham provided funding for Kashyap to write the script and after that he traveled to the US, where he wrote both No Smoking and Return of Hanuman.

Upon his return to India, Vishal Bhardwaj also offered to produce a film, and Anurag Kashyap brought No Smoking to him. The film about a failed actor, which evolved into Ugly in 2013, was originally conceptualized during that rickshaw ride to meet Abraham.


Ugly, released in 2013, featured an ensemble cast including Rahul Bhat, Ronit Roy, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Vineet Kumar Singh, Girish Kulkarni, and Surveen Chawla.

ALSO READ: Dad-to-be Ali Fazal recalls how he ended up playing Joy Lobo in Aamir Khan starrer 3 Idiots: 'After the audition, I left...'

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About The Author

Drenched in the vibrant hues of Bollywood, Rajni Singh is an entertainment journalist with 3 years of experience in the


Credits: Indian Express

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