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Updated: February 2, 2012 17:11 IST

Son rise

Vijay George
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Dulquer Salmaan
The Hindu Dulquer Salmaan

Dulquer Salmaan, son of Mammootty, makes his debut in Mollywood with ‘Second Show.' The young actor opens up about living up to expectations.

Mollywood superstar Mammootty's son, Dulquer Salmaan, had been anointed as a prospective hero long before he actually faced the camera for his debut film ‘Second Show.' The youngster, though, doesn't seem perturbed by all the hype surrounding his entry into Mollywood. Dulquer's always been an ardent movie buff and started off his career in the industry as a filmmaker before debuting as an actor. In an interview to FridayReview, the young hero whose laid-back attitude adds to his charm, talks about ‘Second Show,' which releases today, and his plans in filmdom. Excerpts from the interview…

Being the son of a superstar, your entry into films should have been easy...

Even if you have the advantage of having a connection to the industry I have always felt that getting the right offers and getting a break is the hardest part of stepping into tinsel town. The fact that I have got offers to act in films is a blessing.

You also have huge expectations to live up to…

Of course! I have such giant shoes to fill and that is always tough. There is this benchmark that I am expected to live up to. Then again, if you continue to worry about it, then it affects your performance. My primary goal is to try my best to give an honest performance. In the first few weeks of shooting for ‘Second Show,' I realised I should stop thinking about the hopes that ride on me and just focus on my character. I am aware of the expectations but I try not to think about it.

When did you know that you wanted to be an actor?

Have you noticed that for a few minutes after you finish watching a movie or walk out of a theatre after watching a great climax, you really feel like you are the character? At some point of time or the other, everybody wants to be the hero. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't ever curious about being an actor. But I admit I shied away from acting for the longest time possible. I really enjoyed the filmmaking process while working on my short films, ‘Change What Is' and ‘Kill Dill.' It was great fun to do something creative. I like the idea of creativity – if I hadn't gone and done my films they just wouldn't exist. I wanted to be part of film sets and had plans to become a filmmaker. After a while I started reading scripts and found ‘Second Show' interesting. I liked the team for it felt like I was meeting people who are of the same wavelength. We bonded instantly.

What is ‘Second Show' all about?

It is about a group of people who are willing to do anything to come up in life. The characters are of different shades and not all of them have positive attitudes. My character in the film – Lalu – cannot be more different from the person I am. So there was something for me to learn as well. I was out of my comfort zone and it was quite challenging to try something like that.

You started off as a filmmaker. Now, how does it feel like facing the camera?

I actually think that I am a decent filmmaker and that I am pretty good at getting people to perform. When I am making a film I am always clear as to what I want from my actors. Funnily enough, it is not that simple when I am acting. I don't think I am a born actor. I need to know what the director wants from me and believe that my directors can bring out the best in me.

Filmmaker or actor…What do you want to be known as?

I plan to act in only one movie at a time. Currently I am shooting for Anwar Rasheed's ‘Ustad Hotel.' But, of course, I do want to direct a few movies too.

There are some new experiments happening in Malayalam cinema, which is different from the superstar formula. What kind of films do you identify yourself with?

I do like what has been going on in the past year or so in Malayalam cinema. I want to be associated with the new movement, if we can call it so. My father and I have some similarities but we have different personalities. I am a normal guy and I would like to do more of the everyday kind of stuff that I can relate to. I don't see myself as a superhero. I have always been fascinated by realistic portrayals. Obviously, I enjoy cinematic elements and some movies work only with a little bit of cinematic freedom.

How welcoming is the atmosphere for a debutant in Malayalam?

It is tough to gauge that before my movie comes out. My main exposure thus far has been through social networking and a few interviews. Only a very low percentage of a large film-going demography is aware that I exist. Some of those people, especially my father's fans, might get excited about my entry, but it won't necessarily reflect what everybody else thinks. Frankly, I have tried really hard to stay away from interviews as I don't want to talk too much, at least until the movie comes out.

How tough is the competition in Malayalam, with so many talented young actors around?

I really enjoy watching most of my peers. If they weren't really good, they wouldn't be in the industry. Some might be good in certain aspects but there is space for every one.

On a lighter vein, your probable competitors include your father and his peers as well…

(Smiles) It is thrilling! I enjoy the fact that ‘Second Show' is going to find a spot between films like ‘Casanovva' [a Mohanlal starrer] and ‘The King and the Commissioner,' [which has Mammootty and Suresh reprising two of their popular characters].

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