John Abraham was born in Changanacherry in 1937. He completed his studies in Kottayam staying with his grandfather. It was him who nurtured Abraham's talent in early days. After completing his degree in economics from Marthoma College, Thiruvalla, he worked as an insurance agent in Bellary. After that he joined the FTII, Pune and was trained by Ritwik Ghatak. Abraham graduated out of the FTII with gold medals in screenwriting and film direction. He entered the film industry working as an assistant director to Mani Kaul for the film Uski Roti. He has worked for some Hindi projects that was shot in Kerala, but none were released. Abraham's first attempt in direction came in 1967 named Vidyarthikale Ithile Ithile. It was the Tamil film Agraharathil Kazhuthai that elevated Abraham to fame.