Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly turn their sights on Tamil cinema; why other Malayalam stars might follow suit

Sreedhar Pillai

Dec 01, 2017 08:44:11 IST

Why are Malayalam stars like Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly and Fahadh Faasil looking more at Kollywood than strengthening their position in Mollywood?

The hot and happening young stars of Malayalam cinema like Dulquer Salmaan and Nivin Pauly are making a beeline for Kollywood and Tollywood. Both these actors are a rage in their home state and have that essential, all-important “opening” for their films. The two are the highest paid actors in Kerala currently after Mohanlal and have a solid fan base among the youth audiences.

Now both have ventured out of their comfort zone to do full length feature films in Telugu and Tamil. Dulquer has done three Tamil films Vaayai Moodi Pesavum, OK Kanmani and Solo — out of which only OK Kanmani was an average grosser, while the other two were flops. Now Dulquer’s next release is Mahanati, a trilingual (Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam) film followed by the Tamil film, Kannum Kannum Kolladithal. His Tamil films, when dubbed into Malayalam, have not been successful but are screened on Malayalam satellite channels looking for content.

 Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly turn their sights on Tamil cinema; why other Malayalam stars might follow suit

Dulquer Salmaan and Nivin Pauly. Twitter/@Ramchaganti

As far as Nivin Pauly is concerned, he has done Neram in Tamil which also had a Malayalam version and was just an average grosser. The actor is now all excited about his first Tamil film Richie, which is releasing on 8 December. Nivin has seen to it that there will not be a dubbed Malayalam version releasing in theatres in Kerala. He has also signed another Tamil film with leading producer RD Raja, who has also written the story. Raja recently made Velaikkaran with Sivakarthikeyan.

Fahadh Faasil after two back to back hits earlier this year with  Thondimuthalam Driksakhiyum and Take Off will be having two back-to-back releases in Tamil. First off the block will be the Mohan Raja-directed Sivakarthikeyan–Nayanthara starring Velaikkaran, where he plays the antagonist. It will be followed by much-talked about new age director Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s off- beat Super Deluxe, where he shares the screen space with Vijay Sethupathi and Samantha. Another busy Malayalam actor —who is not as well-known outside Kerala — Tovino Thomas is also debuting in a Tamil film called Abhiyum Anuvum with Piyaa Bajpai as the female lead and cinematographer turned director B Vijayalakshmi at the helm.

A veteran Malayalam producer who has done films with Mohanlal and Mammootty says : “ I just don’t understand the craze among new generation Malayalam actors to do Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films at a time when their career is poised for bigger things in their home state. At the moment Malayalam industry is facing acute shortage of saleable heroes and some of these guys have got a good opening. Earlier too, actors like Mammootty, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi had done the occasional other language films, but concentrated mainly in Malayalam.”

They also point out the way popular actor Prithviraj spoilt his career doing films in other languages, which neither brought him glory nor box-office success. Does anybody remember Prithviraj’s sensational debut opposite Rani Mukherjee in Hindi with Aiyya? Or Aurangazeb? What about Naam Shabana where he played the bad guy? Prithviraj also did 10 films in Tamil including Mani Ratnam’s Raavan but after the failure of his critically acclaimed Kavya Thalaivan (2014), the actor avoided doing films in other languages. Once bitten twice shy, the actor is trying to regain his old form in Malayalam with Vimanam due for Christmas followed by Detroit Crossing, My Story and Anjali Menon’s untitled film.

Why are the generation next Malayalam stars giving priority dates and trying to create an impact in Tamil and Telugu, a difficult market to crack for male stars? Tamil and Telugu cinema have been rolling out the red carpet only for Malayali actresses like Nayanthara, Nithya Menen, Keerthi Suresh, Manjima Mohan, Lakshmi Menon, Niveda Thomas and many others. The argument is that if Vijay, Surya, Allu Arjun, NTR and Prabhas can penetrate Kerala market with their films dubbed into Malayalam, why can’t the inverse be true? Dulquer’s recent films have been dubbed into Telugu, while Nivin’s Premam ran in a single theatre in Chennai for 258 days! Both these actors have very strong social media presence and are popular with fans outside Kerala.

An industry insider says that when they do other language films the budgets are bigger and they are hoping it will give them a new reach. And even if one of their films succeeds at the Tamil or Telugu box-office, it will open new avenues and endorsements.

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Updated Date: Dec 01, 2017 08:44:11 IST