Video: Dulquer talks about 'Varane Avashyamund'
Dulquer Salmaan talks about acting alongside debutant Kalyani Priyadarshan and being directed by Anoop Sathyan.
He completes eight years in the film industry; the Malayalam film industry to be precise. He is not just a star son, but has proved his mettle by acting in over 25 movies and producing three movies, most of them box office hits.
A heartthrob in every sense, he handles every role with élan. DQ - as he is fondly known - has spread his magic to the Tamil, Telugu and Hindi film industries as well.
In a conversation with City Times ahead of the release of his latest production venture Varane Avashyamund, starring him alongside debutant Kalyani Priyadarshan, Suresh Gopi and Shobana, and directed by Anoop Sathyan, Dulquer Salmaan gets candid about movies, arranged marriages and more...
Varane Avashyamund is a movie literally bursting with highlights - directed by Sathyan Anthikad's son, Anoop; the leading lady is Lissy and Priyadarshan's daughter Kalyani and, of course, it stars you. How did you manage to put together this elite group?
This is a dream cast, all credit to the director. He had this in his mind for some time. I was not on board initially. But he was sure about Suresh sir (Suresh Gopi) and Shobana. There was also a bit of confusion about the heroine.
Wasn't Nazriya cast initially?
Yes. There was some clash in dates and so she could not join the team. Then Kalyani came in; I came on board and things got fleshed out a little more.
Are Suresh Gopi and Shobana present throughout the movie?
(Laughs) Yes, they are! It's not just cameo roles. It's like a multiple narrative. They are coming together after 14 years and some narratives are similar to Manichithrathaazhu.
There is lot of curiosity among fans regarding the movie. Expectations are rather high.
Yes, but it's all very organic. I don't think it's gimmicky in any way. We have been correct in terms of casting. I am excited about the narratives, they are very interesting.
The movie talks about arranged marriage. What is your take on this?
I don't think you can put it down to just arranged marriages. I think the trailer did that, giving that sort of impression. Well, my take . (laughs) I don't think there is any right way in meeting the right person. Actually there is no particular way. These things just happen in life.
It's great to see 'slice of life' movies which the audience can relate to. Is that a genre you are particularly comfortable with?
I think it's important to me that I relate well to the role that I do. That could be the reason I get drawn to 'slice of life' movies. Believable roles. Even the books I read, I need to be able to relate to the book, the characters in the book. Overly commercial roles . well, they are not for me. I cannot do them. I don't think I will be convincing. Yes, I tend (to do) more realistic movies.
You are the epitome of fashion, the suave male of Malayalam cinema. How do you maintain your 'style-factor'?
That is not a conscious decision. I like clothes, it's something I liked from a very young age. I have an eye for good things. I don't know, style is something unique to people.
But it's not just about clothes. It's about how you come across, the sophistication.
That's not conscious. I have been noticing people, their styles. This is how I am, you know.
You work hard for your movies and it is reflected in your success, not just in Malayalam, but in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu films, as well. Has the fact that you are Mammootty's son helped you or hindered you in any way?
Maybe in the beginning it has helped me. You know, to get my portfolio right, that sort of thing. Beyond that it all depends on how you do, how hard you work. How you perform and how ardently your fans like you and accept you, that's what counts in the end if you need to survive.
Does it irk you if your capabilities are taken for granted?
(Laughs). No matter what, I have had to work hard, very hard. Otherwise you cannot stay on in the industry.
But initially expectations would have been high...
That would not be fair on any person when you are kind of comparing us to their 20 to 30 years of solid experience. You can't compare that to a new comer, it's just not fair.
The success of a movie is more daunting when you produce one. Is it in anyway different from just being an actor?
It's exciting. Yes, it's different, but thrilling. My initial intent in producing a movie was to be able to create. I needed to make a team of my own to start with. That took some time and I got together a good team. I did not want to make experienced people do all the work. I have ambitions. I want to be a regular content provider. It's about a group of youngsters getting together. It's an opportunity.
So that's bringing young blood into the Malayalam film industry.
I love doing that. I think it's about providing opportunity. And in turn, I get great opportunities. But then again, let me tell you, it's not charity. It's something we should be doing for the industry. And, in return, I get to do what I love doing.
Has your degree in Business Management helped you when it came to production?
I don't know. I am waiting for the results. I have done two movies earlier. But they were different. Each movie is a learning experience.
What excites you about acting?
It's exciting to be a part of any project in any capacity, and the more roles you take up the more exciting it is. If you are an actor there are specific times to come in, and specific roles to do. But as a producer, you are involved full time. You play various roles. I just enjoy that.
Are you looking at direction also?
No. I don't want to take too much time out of my acting career. I enjoy acting.
Malayalam cinema is back on track with new-age movies telling real stories. Budgets do not seem to matter now. What is your take on big-budget movies in the present scenario?
I think there is space for that also. People have the appetite for all kinds of movies. If you feed them with just one type of movie, like what you call new age movies, it may not go down well, may not always entertain them or get them excited. You have to constantly give them different genres. I don't believe the time has come for just real-life movies. There is space for all types of movies. I truly believe that. When the old school comes back, there is still a lot of excitement.
But don't you think young actors are getting more opportunities now?
Yes, definitely. But then age does not matter in the Malayalam film industry. Everybody has work now. There are a lot of good movies; lot of scripting is happening. It's a great time now. It's not like there is a particular type of appeal, everybody is trying different types of cinema, different stories, different roles. There is so much happening.
Is this phenomenon only in Malayalam movies?
Yes. We are coming out with good movies. It encourages artists when the content is good. A movie like Anjaam Pathiraa is essentially a thriller. The fact that there are numbers for such movies is very encouraging. And people are viewing it repeatedly though they know the thread, even though they know the mystery. The suspense is known, there is no shock value, but still people are watching it because it's a well made film. That predominantly has to do with Malayalam movies and its audience. You won't find it anywhere else. Be it Driving Licence, Anjaam Pathiraa, Kumblangi Nights, all these have numbers. That's Malayalam cinema for you.
What is the major difference when you act in a Malayalam movie and a Hindi movie?
Well, it really depends on the type of movie you are doing, the team you are working with. It's difficult to generalise the entire industry. I have been lucky to work with good teams trying to put out good work.
Do you discuss your movies with your father?
We both hear from directors all the time. Sometimes when I lock something or I kind of like an idea, yes, I discuss with him.
Would you take up only path-breaking cinema or would he encourage you to mix them with commercial cinema like he does?
He does a mix. And he has been successful in that, that's his experience speaking, his talent. I will, maybe. But not now. Again, the movies we do have numbers, and then such movies become commercial movies.
What is your criteria in selecting a movie?
I generally go with my gut. It's like when you read a book, you know whether you like it or not. I know when I like something.
So, it's the script above the team?
It's both. Sometimes it could be a great team but the script may not be up to the mark. Sometimes it could be a great script but the team does not deliver. So, it should be the right combination.