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Dulquer Salmaan’s 5 Films To  See, And The One We’ll Never Get To See

Dulquer Salmaan has chosen a career path very different  from his  father the iconic Mammoothy

I asked Dulquer Salmaan  if that  was 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.”

Dulquer Salmaan
Dulquer Salmaan

 So would  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.”

While   it is unlikely  that we will see Dulquer Salmaan with  his illustrious  father together, here  are Dulquer Salmaan’s  5  films worth checking out.

Solo: 4 stories about bereavement and  loss, Solo with its supremely impassioned plea to fob off isolation is a shout-out for comfort and warmth in  a world gone completely cold. In the frigid frozen environment of  isolated  hearts and broken  promises,  a light is lit. Solo is ample proof of Bejoy Nambiar’s mastery over the desi noire genre which so far Anurag Kashyap thought  he owned.

It is also a lucid testimony to Dulquer Salmaan’s virtuosity. He has rapidly emerged as  one  of  India’s most  exciting contemporary actors. Nambiar’s characters  find  love and then lose it in the most bizarre ways. In the first and my favourite story Shekhar with the speech impairment  loves and marries the seductive dancer Radhika(the very fetching Sai Dhansika) who can see  better than those with vision.

Their ravishing romance, more Mani Ratnam than Karan Johar, reaches an awful dilemma then slides into a tragedy with such resonance that I was rendered teary eyed and speechless in no time at all. Nambiar gives us no room to grieve for  lost love.

The next story which is  cleverly and stylishly noireish(Kashyap and Ramu on  one of their more inspired outings)  has chameleon-like Dulquer transforming into  a vendetta-seeking widower. I  found this story way too devious and self-congratulatory  to be spontaneous. The storytelling  here lacks the grace  of the first story. Bejoy is  way too eager to push all the right de Palma-Hitchcock  buttons. The morality tale  is just about gripping though never gloriously memorable. The  third story , a dark  violent saga of  persecution and  retribution again soars to tremendous heights of  lucidity.

Here Dulquer Salmaan ,playing the gun-toting killer from a  broken violent home, uses his silences to express screaming disdain for  social codes.  Among the  four stories this one  has the optimum velocity and an ability to be an independent full-length feature film on  its own.

The gangsters (these include the very wonderful Dinesh Prabhakar , seen in the week’s other release Chef) are  constantly fighting over MGR-Sivaji Ganesan songs . The  brutal hits are staged in grotesquely ironical circumstances , for instance a Tamil melodrama plays on  television while  the man of the house is being roughed up outside. Or a businessman who is  vital to the plot  is attacked while he performs Ganpati  puja in Mumbai.

This  story is partly set in Mumbai and conveys a lot of the city’s gangster-patois with  a relish that Nambiar had displayed in  his stunning debut film Shaitaan.  There are images and  shots in this story that I’d rate as  among the best in the gangster genre in Indian cinema.

Like the  first two stories this one too has an unexpected twist in the tale that leaves  one of the protagonists bereaved and alone….solo! Dulquer  plays the child-man  in the  fourth and least satisfying story  about a volatile  armyman and his  forbidden love for  his neighbour’s daughter(Neha Sharma). The incestuous undertones in this story left me somewhat underwhelmed though not in  any permenantly  damaging way.

Mahaniti:  Dulquer Salmaan’s Gemini Ganesan is a masterly portrayal of the male  ego  swathed in superficial compassion . Again, like KeerthyDulquer steers  the performance away from being imitative. Bravely  the  film doesn’t gloss over  the unpleasant aspects  of Savitri’s life. The marriage to the much-married Tamil matinee  idol Gemini Ganesan (played with  an endearing  vigour by Dulquer Salman) and the  subsequent clash of egos, her lapse into alcoholism and her eventual  plunge into penury are all  dealt with  a certain beguiling blend of  melodrama and poignancy.

The mix can be infuriatingly overblown for the uninitiated but highly satisfying for those who are  familiar with the drama of deceit depression and  descent that  governs many success stories of the entertainment world.

Kadhal Kanmani: I was reminded of Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherjee and the life that they tried to make together in Saathiya after marrying under trying circumstances. In Mani’s new delightful disarming drama of love without commitment Aditya(Dulquer Salmaan) and Tara(Nithya Menon) don’t just shy away from marriage and the accompanying obligations,  the splendidly scripted drama makes a valid case for the Mumbai couple to stay unmarried and enjoy a kind of freedom that is an obligation of a kind different from what we think of as marital duties.

Ratnam’s lovers ooze a poised charm without getting overly cute . Salmaan and Menon are so compatible together you wonder what’s keeping them from taking the plunge.They look so made for each other, it isn’t funny. As in his past romantic yarn Mani Ratnam remains the master of vignettes. He weaves precious  little scenes of distending drama that exude a portable passion.

The romance is vast in scope but not  immeasurably ‘epic’ .The young actors know their job and does it with a flair that tenders a deep empathy for their characters. We can’t help falling in love with the love that Aditya and Tara feel for one another. Railway tracks and compartments crowded with impatient commuters serve as a meeting ground for Mani Ratnam’s young lovers in Ok Kadhal  Kanmani.

Karwaan:  Irfaan  and  Dulquer together  is   reason enough to  sink your teeth  into this  tale  of  a  weird yatra.In a sequence that would have been profoundly amusing if it were not so tragic a beautiful lady (Amala Akinneni, if you must know) looks at two coffins and tells Dulquer, “The right one is your father.” Sighs Dulquer, “So far  the right one was the wrong one for me.”Excavating humour from the innards of mortality is never easy.

Writer-Director Akarsh Khurana attempts the near-impossible and comes up with a film that never offends, even when it poses some serious problems of pacing.You know that the film is looking for ways to keep the journey going when there are unnecessary detours on the way. And why not?! Dulquer’s Avinash is a repressed unhappy 10-5 geek who hates his bullying boss (Akarsh   Khurana) and wants nothing more, nothing less, than to break out of his executive dungeon and …well, just shoot pictures with an actual camera, not its digital doppelgangers.

Karwaan has much that is wrong with it. But it also has plenty that pleases, a warmth and an empathy for the misfits that makes it a very endearing road trip, albeit with irrelevant deviations.

Zoya Factor: Dulquer Salmaan as  the  captain of  the  cricket team which “adopts” ‘Zoya’ Sonam Kapoor  as their lucky mascot, is  the   only  saving grace  in  this vapid  adaptation  of an interesting novel. Dulquer’s reined-in performance  works  to  pan out Sonam’s excessively exuberant  portrayal of a girl who is  so  hellbent on creating  a  stir she ends up  courting chaos. So far Dulquer Salmaan has not been lucky  in his  choice  of roles  in Hindi. That  needs  to be  rectified  sooner rather than  later.

Biography

Dulquer Salmaan is an Indian Film actor who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema. He is the son of actor Mammootty. Dulquer made his debut with the Malayalam film Second Show (2012) for which he received the Filmfare  Award for Best Male Debut.

He also received award for his Tamil debut Vaayai Moodi Pesavum (2014). He won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in Charlie (2015).

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