The Dulquer Salmaan Interview: 'I Chose My Own Path Because That was the Only Way to Go'

The Dulquer Salmaan Interview: 'I Chose My Own Path Because That was the Only Way to Go'

'Mahanati' Actor Dulquer Salmaan on creating his own identity, working on a biopic and dealing with female attention
The Dulquer Salmaan Interview: 'I Chose My Own  Path Because That was the Only Way to Go'
Dulquer Salmaan

Dulquer Salmaan  has  proved himself  to be one  of  the  finest Malayalam  actors  of the post-Mammootty generation. Coincidentally Mammootty happens  to be Dulquer’s father. As  this  young forever-exploratory actor  embarks on a  career outside his  home ground  in Kerala, he speaks to Subhash K Jha on his aspirations and dreams.

Congratulations, your performance as the  Tamil matinee idol Gemini Ganesan  in Mahanati has  caught  a lot of attention?
We all knew  we were doing something important, something very special. To tell the story  of  this Tamil-Telugu cinema’s legendary actress Savitri was  something I believed in. This was  a role away from my home territory in Kerala, hence an added challenge

Why do you look at  Kerala as home ground? There  is no regional cinema any longer?
Well, I’ve to agree that the demarcation lines are blurring. I won’t say there was a divide. But clearly Malayalam cinema has a narrower market than cinema in some  other Indian languages. I was happy to expand into the Tamil market. And now into Telugu with  Mahanati and into Hindi as well.

Have you spoken  your own lines in Telugu?
Yes, I have. And it was far  more difficult getting the Telugu dialogues than  Tamil. I’ve been dubbing my own lines in Tamil for some time now. In Telugu I had to practise the words, understand and absorb what I am saying and then speak them in the dubbing. I would think I got them right. But I’d be told something was not right. I would wonder what was wrong. Still I’d do it again and again until it came out sounding  right for the experts in the language.

Quite  a  task ?
Yes, but then that is the main criteria.  I have for accepting  a role. It has to offer me  a challenge of some kind. Otherwise  there is no point in doing  a role. I would be very uncomfortable doing  a safe part. It would make me think something is wrong.

You’ve chosen a career path very different  from your father(the iconic Mammooty). Was that deliberate?
It had to be different from his. I couldn’t possibly do what he had already done. He has a larger-than-life image. It made no sense to walk in his footsteps. There is a nothing like  a ‘born actor’. It’s all about honing the skills. Duplication never works for anybody. Why would  it have worked for me? I chose my own path because that was the only way to go . At the same time I’ve to  admit there was an advantage in being my fathers’s son. The debut film came  much easier to me than it would have if I was an outsider.

Would you like to  do a film with your father?
The thought has crossed the minds of many filmmakers. We’ve had  quite a  few offers to work together. But no. I don’t think that’s a good idea. The comparisons would  be  unacceptable  to me. So unless it is something that offers  a truly special challenge  for us to come together it is unlikely that we will work together.

Do you and  your father discuss each other’s roles at the dinner table?
I do talk to him about my work with him if I feel like.  But nothing beyond  the usual.We’d rather discuss other things when we are together.

How does  your wife cope with all your female  fan-following?
There is  nothing there that is threatening or embarrassing. It’s all very sweet and harmless. No one has suddenly landed up at my home threatening to break my door down.

Do you  get to spend enough time  with your  daughter?
She turned 1 on  May 5.We  don’t believe in  having  a large birthday party. In  any case she is too small right now to respond to a party. So we had  just a small family dinner and we took pictures in case some day she wants proof  of her first day celebration.

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