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I'm a 'visiting actor' in Tamil cinema, says Dulquer Salmaan ahead of ‘Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal’

Dulquer Salmaan and Ritu Varma in a scene from ‘Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal’

Dulquer Salmaan and Ritu Varma in a scene from ‘Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal’   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Malayalam actor speaks about fanboying over Gautham Menon, establishing his own production firm to support young filmmakers, and his upcoming Kollywood release

Dulquer Salmaan is everywhere... in the Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi film industries. This omnipresence does make him wonder where his career is headed to right now, “I’m always working. Maybe it’s just that nobody is working in so many industries at the moment,” says Dulquer with a chuckle, reminiscent of the one that made women swoon over him, when OK Kanmani hit screens in 2015.

Dulquer reveals an interesting information on how he filters content, one that may or may not guarantee you his dates. The actor prefers a narration from the director. “I get a sense of their vision when they narrate. If I’m reading a script, I have a different movie that is playing in my head. That’s why some of the movies have failed,” he laughs, “I need to see how passionate they get a better sense of the world.” He says he would rather sit idle and binge-watch movies than sign up projects just for the sake of it. That did happen to a large extent, when he was out of work for almost nine months recently.

A visiting actor

Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal (KKK) marks the directorial début of Desingh Periyasamy. It is not that Dulquer has not worked with newcomers before. But what convinced him of KKK was Periyasamy’s crisp narration. “It was fast-paced. The movie is packed with emotion and the intensity doesn’t drop even by an ounce,” he says, clarifying that KKK is not a homage to Mani Ratnam’s Thiruda Thiruda, the title of which was taken from the song ‘Kannum Kannum’.

Dulquer returns to Tamil cinema following Solo in 2017. A word of caution; do not use the word ‘comeback’ to describe his re-entry. He says he prefers to label himself a “visiting actor”. Says Dulquer, “I cannot plan my career here like how a Tamil actor would do. Because he/she is predominately focusing on Tamil Nadu, which I cannot afford.” Ask him how he dealt with the failure of Solo and he says, “Life goes on. It wasn’t the end of my career. When Solo released, I had movies lined up for a year,” he says, adding, “It’s my mom who gets worked up when my movies flop. I’ll have to console her saying, ‘Ma, I have movies for a year’.”

What’s DQ chasing?
  • Dulquer has always been torn between playing character-driven roles and star-vehicles. He plays a charming, romantic-at-heart character in a movie like Charlie but at the same time, he surprises with a movie like Kammatipaadam. “Which is nice in hindsight. But if I don’t find a character worth of substance for a while, then I’m like ‘where am I heading?’. It’s because I’m greedy about good content.”
  • He does acknowledge that there is a fair bit of typecasting in the industry, especially when he is offered has-been roles. “But a character-driven role doesn’t necessarily guarantee a good movie, right?,” he continues, “At the end of the day, I have to shoulder the project — whether it is Kammatipaadam, Parava or Mahanati.”

Another aspect of Dulquer you need to know is this: he turns down rom-coms on a daily basis. But that does not take away the fact that he became the poster boy of romance when Mani Ratnam launched him in Tamil. Dulquer takes a pause and begins by emphasising, “KKK is not a rom-com, if that’s what you are thinking.” He explains, “It has romance, is racy in parts and has a thriller element to it. In terms of my line-up this year, I think KKK stands out.”

System at fault

But Dulquer is not the only star of KKK. The movie has filmmaker Gautham Menon playing an extended role, “We were all fanboying over him [Gautham Menon] as if some superstar had arrived on the sets,” says Dulquer, “He brought a certain amount of maturity to it.”

KKK was billed as Dulquer’s 25th movie, had it not been muddled by financial crunches. Delays, production issues and bad-marketing are an inevitable part of the glitzy, glam world of the movie industry. Dulquer is aware of that, even if it puts him in helpless situations at times. It was one of the reasons why he established his own production firm, to support young filmmakers, warranting a smooth release. “Being invested in a project and marketing it right is a lot of commitment. We face delays in release when that fails. It’s frustrating sometimes when you aren’t allowed to work and they lock you down with your previous movies,” says Dulquer, about how he handled the delayed release of KKK, whose production began in 2017.

Inside Dulquer’s world

The actor feels that there’s room for everyone and anyone in Malayalam cinema. “Whoever does good work gets the lion’s share. Take a movie like Kumbalangi Nights for instance. It’s a small movie, but did great numbers. It’s the same case with Anjaam Pathiraa. Ultimately, one needs to rethink the way scripts are being written.”

Every actor is insecure in one way or the other, and Dulquer Salmaan is no different. “I’m insecure about my growth,” says the actor. Expanding further, he says, “When you earlier mentioned typecasting, I am beginning to think if the audience perceives me that way. That’s why I break away from the mould and do a movie like Kammatipaadam. But, I cannot create a movie like that. It has to find me.”

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 3:55:43 PM |

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