Dulquer Salmaan says he was advised not to become an actor: ‘I thought, what makes you think I can’t act?’

There wouldn’t have been any Bangalore Days, Charlie, O Kadhal Kanmani, Kurup or the latest hit Sita Ramam with him had Dulquer Salmaan followed the suggestion he had received when he was working in an IT firm: Don’t become an actor.

Dulquer, who made his acting debut a decade ago with the thriller Second Show, has featured in more than 30 films in his career. In an interview with indianexpress.com, the actor is thankful that he was advised against acting as that made him chase it even more.

“I was told ‘Don’t act.’ Someone told me that, I think that planted the first seed in my head. They told me this very early, when I was fresh out of college. They asked, ‘What do you do?’ when I said I work in an IT (firm), I was told, ‘Ya, don’t act.’ I thought, what makes you think I can’t act? Therefore, I must!”

Considered one of the brightest talents working today, Dulquer has featured in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films. After three consecutive releases this year–Tamil rom-com Hey Sinamika, Malayalam crime thriller Salute and Telugu period romantic drama Sita Ramam–Dulquer is awaiting the release of his next, Chup.

Directed by R Balki, the Hindi film is billed as a psychological thriller which follows a serial killer (Dulquer) who carves stars into the bodies of his victims, film critics. The actor says he was bowled over by the part Balki offered him but feels his role is best discussed after the film.

“I felt Balki sir was venturing into an interesting space. It is not like any of his previous films, it is also not like anything I have done before so I was very curious about that. The character is extremely interesting, has a lot of layers and is very complex.

“He also looks like your average Joe, you can’t pick him out of a crowd, he blends in the background. I really liked that. But it is a character I would love to discuss after the film. It is a tough film to discuss before,” he adds.

While on-screen Dulquer is shown to hunt film critics, in real life, the actor is kinder to reviews. He reads articles about his films and performances but is unsure where he focuses more: reviews by critics or the audience’s word of mouth.

“Irrespective of it being good or bad, if it matches with how the film is doing, how I think it has shaped up, I can buy it. I trust that. But obviously if there is harsh criticism against me, it does play on my mind. In that sense, so I need to improve something, so I need to try something else, need to do some other, certain kind of cinema. It is not something I consciously do but it happens, it’s there,” he adds.

Chup also stars Sunny Deol, Pooja Bhatt and Shreya Dhanwanthary and is set to release on September 23. The film will have a theatrical release at a time when only a few Hindi films have worked at the box office. But Dulquer says, going through ups and downs is routine for any film industry.

The actor says people always want entertainment as the love for cinema is “engraved in our culture, it’s in our DNA” and hence, Dulquer feels, Bollywood can be “written off.”

“Every industry goes through a bit of a lull sometimes, when we have a bit of disconnect in what the audience wants. It is not something we can always predict. We keep pushing ourselves, keep creating, making good films. A lot of the stuff that came out I am sure was made before the pandemic. Now some tastes have changed. It is also a gigantic industry.

“The gestation here is much longer than the Malayalam industry, where we can put films out much quicker. You just have to give it some time. I don’t know why we keep harping about the films which didn’t work, when there are films which worked, those just keep getting forgotten about. The numbers of Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, Jugjugg Jeeyo… We love this end of the world theory. You can’t write off an industry,” he adds.

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