Born in Kuttanad, Central Kerala, John Abraham attained mythical proportions even during his short life span, living a nomadic existence, who rebelled all the established ways.
At FTII, Pune, John studied under Ritwik Ghatak and is considered as the true follower of Ghatak. He assisted Mani Kaul on Uski Roti before moving to Madras (Chennai) and making his first feature film Vidyarthikale Ithile Ithile (1971). His second film Agraharathil Kazhuthai (1977) was made in Tamil. His third film Cheriyachente Kroora Krithyangal (1979) was made in Malayalam in the backdrops of Kuttanad, John's home place. He constituted the Odessa Collective, aiming at production and exhibition of good cinema with active participation of the general public, without the intervention of market forces. Odessa's first film and John's last Amma Ariyan re-wrote all the conventions of filmmaking. They raised money for the film by travelling from village to village, beating drums and asking for contributions for the 'people's cinema'. He also took active part in street play movement.
John died in a tragic accident in May, 1987.
John was a romantic artist, who believed that cinema could be used as an effective tool for social changes. He tried to by-pass the tyranny of market forces by establishing direct relationship with the people. No wonder that the man who made unparalleled films like Agraharathil Kazhuthai and Amma Ariyan was more acceptable among the illiterate villagers than the intelligentsia of Kerala.