Dulquer Salmaan on his memorable trip in film director Sameer Thahir’s Neelakasham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi, which is releasing next week

“Just like my character Kasim aka Kasi in Neelakasham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi (NPCB), I had gone through a phase when I did not know what to do in life. That was before I decided to become an actor,” says Dulquer Salmaan. He resembles a dreamy-eyed teenager as he reminisces his “fantastic” bike trip in the road movie directed by Sameer Thahir, releasing next week.

“The only thing I was always sure about was that my destiny is my decision. And I chose to be with her…” Dulquer feels that these lines, which Kasi says with lots of confidence in the film, conveys some lessons about life. “Kasi is a just-out-of-the-college youth figuring out what to do next. He is a bit lost and is on a journey to discover himself. In the hope of finding the answers, he hits the road on a bike trip along with a friend and fellow biker, played by Sunny Wayne,” explains Dulquer.

Cinematographer-turned-director Sameer Thahir feels that “since there can be various modes of transport in a road movie, this could be called a ‘riding movie’.” Inspired by certain books, the two friends decide to go on a bike trip to Nagaland. Some incidents during the trip help them understand themselves and reveal the reasons for their journey.”

The journey starts from Kerala and goes through Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Sikkim and Nagaland.

The director and the hero agree that this was one trip that they enjoyed to the hilt.

Says Dulquer: “I would not have seen most of those places if we did not shoot there. It was great to explore India on a small scale. On a personal note, my parents were fairly protective and belong to the old school. So they would never have let me go for a trip across the country like this one, on a bike. Then again, I have been quite obedient and would never have asked them if I could try out something like this.”

He adds: “It is now common for youngsters to take time off and go on such expeditions. We came across such travellers during the shooting. There is a misconception that they are gypsies! Actually, most of them are adventure seekers and achievers from different walks of life,” says Dulquer.

NPCB Neelakasham, Pachakkadal, Chuvanna Bhoomi brings together Dulquer and Sunny Wayne. The duo had made their debut in Second Show last year. Ustad Hotel.ABCD

Dulquer does not want to be stereotyped and is trying to experiment with characters and themes. “That was why a Theevram came in between Ustad Hotel and ABCD, as I played a non-resident Indian in both the latter films. Now I am working in cinematographer-turned director Azhagappan’s maiden venture Pattam Pole, which is a romantic tale. Salalah Mobiles, my forthcoming movie, is an entertainer,” he adds.

Like his father, Mammootty, Dulquer seems to be using his deep voice to his advantage. His role as a narrator in the recently released Kullante Bharya, one of the films in the 5 Sundarikal portmanteau movie, has been appreciated.

“It's not exactly like my dad's voice but I am aware that I am also blessed with a strong voice. As I grew up outside Kerala, I did struggle to speak Malayalam fluently in Kullante Bharya. Actually I spent more time dubbing for the film than shooting for it,” he says.

Once a film releases, Dulquer stays away from the limelight. “Honestly, I like acting and the process of getting into the shoes of the characters that I play but once I am done with it, I like to spend time with my family or the friends that I had before I got into films. But then, I have always been shy about being in the limelight,” says Dulquer preparing to ride away into the sunset before appearing on the horizon again as another character.

SURJA BALA

Manipuri girl Surja Bala says she enjoys South Indian films, especially Tamil. But she got a pleasant surprise when, as if in a dream, she was chosen to play Dulquer Salmaan's heroine in Neelakasham Pachakkadal Chuvanna Bhoomi. In a brief chat, she narrates about her experience. Excerpts from a chat with the actress: The actress talks about it…

I have been acting in Manipuri films since I was in class eight. The makers of Neelakasham… were looking for a girl from the North-East and they came across some of my films and songs on YouTube.

I play a Nagamese girl studying in an engineering college in Kerala. She is a bubbly and simple girl.

It was a completely new experience and I enjoyed it. I did not know even a word of Malayalam and somehow managed to say some lines. But I did watch a few Malayalam movies such as Chappa Kurishu, Big B, Ustad Hotel and Salt ‘N’ Pepper.