The actor was last seen playing an Oxford graduate-turned-male-stripper in the comedy action film Desi Boyz.
Director Shoojit Sircar told Hindustan Times: "John is a politically aware actor. He reads the newspaper every morning, knows what's going on in the world.
"He is clued in to the dynamics of the separatist strife in Sri Lanka. The minute I told him about my film Jaffna, he was on board."
Abraham has previously collaborated with Sircar to produce the director's earlier comedy film Vicky Donor.
Sircar added: "John believes in Jaffna, as much as he believes in Vicky Donor. That's why he stepped in to produce both the projects. He saw the full film Vicky Donor and was completely kicked by it."
In December, Abraham said that he prides himself on his physique and likes being viewed as an action hero.
The star has recently said that actors do not have to have a fancy lifestyle to impress the public.