Dulquer Salmaan on ‘Hey Sinamika’: I liked the conflict between the lead characters

Dulquer Salmaan

Dulquer Salmaan | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Dulquer Salmaan never intended to become an actor. During his schooling in Sishya, Chennai, he was rarely on stage, despite being popular actor Mammootty’s son. Tamil was his third language; and he still needs a little help with learning Malayalam dialogues.

Yet, here he is now: 10 years in the film industry, a bankable star in Malayalam, and a fast-rising one in Tamil.

With a packed schedule in multiple industries including Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi, making him a ‘pan-Indian star’, the actor’s most popular film in Tamil — so far — is the Mani Ratnam-directed O Kadhal Kanmani (2015). He is, however, taking small but steady steps in Kollywood. Part of that road is this week’s theatrical release Hey Sinamika, a romance that marks the directorial debut of popular dance choreographer Brinda.

The title is borrowed from a song in O Kadhal Kanmani. Interestingly, the title of his last Tamil movie — the hit Kannum Kannum Kolaiyadithaal (2020) — was also borrowed from a popular Mani Ratnam-AR Rahman song in Thiruda Thiruda (1993). “I remember saying this to Mani sir, and he jokingly said that he’d start charging me royalty soon,” laughs Dulquer. He adds, “I’m hoping it’s a good luck charm.”

But it is not just luck he is banking on. In Chennai as part of a promotional tour for the movie, he describes Hey Sinamika as an “interesting and complicated romance”, starring Aditi Rao Hydari and Kajal Aggarwal as the female leads. “Typically, a love story in films ends with marriage. Hey Sinamika starts at this point. I found the conflicts among the main characters interesting. We do not need a big scale for such stories. There can be many moments created in a small room too,” says Dulquer, who has also sung the rap track, ‘Achamillai’, in the film.

A still from Hey Sinamika

A still from Hey Sinamika

While Aditi is a close friend, he says this is the first time he has worked with Kajal. “My friends and I have been big fans since the time of Maghadheera. I was very excited to work with her,” says Dulquer adding “it was fascinating to see how she was always in character during shoot time. The girls are the real heroes in this film.”

The actor also got the opportunity to work closely with choreographer-turned-director Brinda, who he has worked with multiple times for dance sequences. “She doesn’t just teach steps,” he says, “She conceives each song like a short film. Most directors leave the entire song sequence to her imagination, and she comes up with, mostly on the spot, several ideas to make it interesting. There will be a little story and moment in each shot. So, I had no second thoughts when I knew she was going to direct.”

Dulquer is part of a young Malayalam brigade currently making a huge impact in the OTT universe. So, why does he think the world only woke up to Malayalam cinema in recent times? “Traditionally, we have been a fairly budget-conscious industry because our market is small. So, we always end up shooting quick. The good thing about that is we can constantly adapt to current trends or discussions,” he says.

“Also, our audiences are very opinionated; they clearly know if we have taken them for a ride or not,” he adds. “Due to these two factors, if something is not working, we can quickly move on to put out something else that could possibly work.”

Stating that he feels that the Malayalam industry was a “little lost in the late Nineties but has picked up in recent times,” Dulquer states, “We went back to how it was in the Eighties, by telling rooted stories. When we watch international cinema, we discover different cultures. Similarly, we have realised that it is best to tell local stories.”

While he is doing that — his last film, Kurup, had him playing one of the most-wanted criminals of Kerala — he is also looking at exploring other genres and languages. His biggest challenge, he admits, is balancing different industries. “Everywhere I go, people ask me, ‘Why are you taking such a big break between such films?’ I’m trying my best to bridge that.”

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2022 5:51:45 pm |