Actor Dulquer Salmaan, the son of Malayalam superstar Mammootty, says he likes roles that offer him a challenge of some kind and that he is very uncomfortable doing a safe part.
Dulquer's 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," said the Malayalam actor.
"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."
Has he spoken his 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," he said.
He has chosen a career path very different from his father. 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 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 he like to do a film with his 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," he said.
Do his father and he 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," said Dulquer.
How does his wife cope with all his 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," he said.
On spending time with his daughter, he said: "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 a small family dinner and we took pictures in case some day she wants proof of her first day celebration."
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