Being a star kid means one is up against expectations and comparisons. And the stakes are usually higher when one is the son of a Malayalam superstar, who has explored the nuances of acting. Dulquer Salmaan, the son of versatile actor, Mammooty, has impressed the audience with his acting skills and has kept the cash registers ringing too — even though being born into a film background does not automatically guarantee success and a huge fan following.
Dulquer’s decision to step into films came only after his marriage; initially, he never wished to be an actor. His love for cinema arose because of one beautiful film, and the best part is, it is the only film that he took with him abroad when he went there for his graduation. Dulquer says that his journey into the film industry has been magical and it was the art of filmmaking that inspired him to enter it.
Dulquer Salmaan’s last film in Malayalam was the hit Pattam Pole. His next, Salalala Mobiles, released yesterday, January 23. Dulquer didn’t confine himself to Mollywood alone, but also ventured into Kollywood with Vaai Moodi Pesavum, directed by Balaji Mohan. The film will hit the screens next month. He always wanted to be a part of the Tamil industry; Dulquer says, “I spent most of my days in Chennai, and in fact, found my better half in this place. Also, here the industry is really competitive and it has beautiful films too. So yes, Kollywood is an option. I wish to shuttle between Mollywood and Kollywood.”
Dulquer says working with director Balaji Mohan was a learning experience for him. His wealth of knowledge on the technical aspects of filmmaking, such as editing and post production, his unique way of storytelling and his precision in keeping to shooting schedules impressed him. “I immediately agreed to do Vaai Moodi Pesavum, as I was impressed with the script. I had seen his previous film, Kadhalil Sothapuvadhu Eppadi, and was able to relate to it easily,” says Dulquer. Before turning actor, direction was always a passion with him and he had made a couple of short films. “This was always within me. So, being with Balaji helped me learn the art of filmmaking,” he adds.
His character in the film is that of ‘a bubbly, fun guy’, beyond which he cannot reveal, he says. The movie is a romantic comedy, it has a unique screenplay and he is sure it will capture the hearts of the audience. Interestingly, Nazriya Nazim is paired opposite him in both Salala Mobiles, and Vaai Moodi Pesavum. According to Dulquer, Nazriya is one of the few actors who can emote and be expressive on screen. “She always spreads a positive vibe on the set, and is a very happy soul. Nazriya is more like one of my younger cousins, and in fact, when she was a kid, she acted with my dad in a film. We have known her since then,” he says.
Dulquer’s aim is to be different, be his own person, not be an imitation of his father or any other actor. After his first film, people did compare him with his famous dad and he was glad about it, but he also wanted a special identity for himself. “I am happy to have garnered positive comments from people in relation to my dad, but I feel that I look way different from him. Also, my films and the roles that I choose are not like what my dad used to do, and my dad is proud about it. The best attribute of my dad’s that I wish to incorporate is the focus and integrity that he possesses. He is such a dedicated artiste,” he says.
Dulquer’s favourite film is Mani Ratnam’s Thalapathi, in which Mammooty and Rajini had played the lead. The actor says, “Both my dad and Rajini sir gave their best in that film. It was the only film that I packed with my books when I went abroad for my studies and watched infinite number of times.” He has strong ideologies and principles when it comes to cinema. He does not want to act in any remakes, for example. “I am hesitant too about my films being remade in any other language as I personally believe that the original has no substitute, especially when it comes to cinema,” he says.
Dulquer, who has also studied acting, strongly believes that, “a person who aspires to become an actor must know the basics of filmmaking as it makes things easy and it will help them too. But likewise, acting can’t be learnt from a book, it’s all about experience, hard work and dedication,” he points out.
Dulquer proudly says that Chennai is a city that is close to his heart as he did his schooling here and he visits it on all special occasions. “I have many friends here in the film industry, and I am emotionally attached to this place,” he says. Vikram Prabhu is one of his friends with whom he was to share screen space with, but it didn’t work out.
And who is his favourite actor in the industry? “I am a Rajini fan,” he says. “I also love the mass following and charisma possessed by both Vijay and Ajith. The audience go crazy when they come on screen. When it comes to acting, it’s Kamal sir and Vikram. I wish that Vikram would do more than two films a year, so that we could learn more from him,” he says.
Is he open to doing Bollywood films? “I am open to doing any film if the script is good. And as far as B’town is concerned, the market is huge. If I am approached for interesting character roles, I would love to do it. For instance, I loved Siddharth’s role in Rang de Basanti. I want to be a part of good films. Language or region is not a barrier, but for now, I want to concentrate on Tamil and Malayalam films,” he says. “I will be signing another film in Tamil very soon after Vai Moodi Pesavum, as I am listening to quite a few scripts now,” he says in parting....