Dulquer Salmaan on the success of Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal, sequel plans, turning producer and upcoming film Kurup
Dulquer Salmaan will be seen next in Kurup, a film that’s already generated a lot of excitement among fans and movie buffs.
Dulquer Salmaan, one of the most versatile, nonchalant and effortless actors in the southern film industry, is basking in the glorious success of his recent Tamil film Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal, which released in theaters last Friday. Despite the low pre-release buzz and poor release awareness, the film had a steep pickup in collections after the early reviews and extremely positive word-of-mouth from audiences.
In this exclusive interview with Firstpost, Dulquer Salmaan talks about the delayed triumph for KKK, turning producer with Malayalam film Varane Avashyamund, being a pan-Indian star and his upcoming much-awaited biopic Kurup.
“It feels as if the audience is literally owning the film. They’ve also made sure not to reveal any spoilers. I’m experiencing such euphoria for the first time. I generally don’t see my films in theaters, but I’ve seen KKK twice already. It was quite an emotional moment for both me and Ritu (his co-star in the film) to see the audience clap and enjoy the film. We had invested our heart and soul into the making of the film despite all the delays, but ultimately we are now reaping the benefits of the complete commercial package dished out by director Desingh," Dulquer told Firstpost.
The film topped the Chennai city and Tamil Nadu box-office last weekend with a handsome increase in gross figures. "I’m also enjoying all this buzz about the film’s growing box office collections. Generally, my films emerge as cult phenomenons at a later date and don’t necessarily enjoy immediate box office success. And it’s always heartwarming to see a film do well in theaters, the first place where films are supposed to be enjoyed. If a theatrically rejected film is accepted later on OTT platforms and people come and comment to me that it should’ve done well in theaters as well, then that can be quite heartbreaking!" he said.
Dulquer recently also tasted success as a producer with his Malayalam outing Varane Avashyamund, under his newly launched banner Wayfarer Films. Now, he has plans to keep the banner buzzing with back to back projects. "There is this fantastic wave of content coming in Malayalam now, and I don’t want to miss out on this period. Even if I’m busy with my other acting assignments, I’ll make sure that my banner is busy. This year, we plan to have five to six films up and running. I had to be a part of Varane Avashyamund somehow as an actor too, and personally requested the director for my role in the film. Despite my limited screen time, it all clicked well in one key conversation sequence on the terrace. Eventually, I’m proud of Varane Avashyamund in my filmography; if my presence in the film drives a few extra footfalls to theaters, I would be more than happy," stated Dulquer.
Dulquer also won praise for revealing the exact collections of Varane Avashyamund in a recent poster of the film, which also stars Kalyani Priyadarshan, Suresh Gopi, and Shobana in pivotal roles. At a time when most films resort to exaggerated collection claims in their posters, this came across as a breath of fresh air. "I actually wasn’t comfortable putting out the collection figures of my own film. But when my team told me that we had genuinely crossed Rs 25 crores in worldwide gross collections and felt that we should put it out, I also gave my nod. I didn’t see it as a big deal, but the move came in for much praise on social media, and I was surprised," reasoned Dulquer.
Regarding his pan-Indian image as an emerging star actor who does cross-over films in all major languages such as Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, and Telugu, Dulquer cites his love for languages as the main reason. “Back in school, I always loved to learn languages more than the usual Physics, Chemistry, Maths (laughs). Tamil was my third language in school, while Hindi was my second language. Back in Kerala, they feel that my Tamil sounds very legitimate while they feel my Malayalam is too fast; maybe my mouth is wired like that. And before coming to the cinema, I had my exposure to working in other spheres in quite a few cities across the globe. I’m using all that exposure and life experience in the kind of films that I’m picking now."
Although Dulquer had proved his mettle as a sterling performer in a rustic role in Rajeev Ravi's Kammaatipaadam, he's majorly getting characters set in the backdrop of urban space. "I’m still seen as an urban boy in all the languages, and I see that as a challenge that I have to overcome. Though some advisors back in Kerala feel that my market and opening in Malayalam would reduce if I keep branching out to do other language films, ultimately, I see it as a blessing when some people consider me as a pan-Indian actor. There is no specific plan or strategy as such from my side, and it’s just rolling out this way”, admits Dulquer in all candor.
On a concluding note, Dulquer also talked about the potential to extend Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal as a franchise. "Very few of my films have had such sequel talks. Though director Desingh is ready with an idea for the sequel and has also narrated the opening 15 minutes to us, I feel that the sequel has the responsibility to meet the level of this part and take it even higher."
Dulquer will be seen next in Kurup (Malayalam), a film that’s already generated a lot of excitement among fans and movie buffs. Based on the life story of one of Kerala's most popular criminals Sukumara Kurup, the film is directed by Srinath Rajendran. For now, he just reveals that the film would have an interesting screenplay, with fiction fused with facts and real-life incidents. He also hopes that the long-delayed Vaan (Tamil) would see the light of day eventually, as the film has a highly exciting script.
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