Acting wasn’t Dulquer Salmaan’s first career choice, as he didn’t want to ‘ruin’ his father, legendary actor Mammootty’s reputation. After trying his hand at a nine-to-five job, Dulquer couldn’t stay away from his true calling and found his way in front of the camera. In a recent interview with Humans of Bombay, the actor opened up about his equation with his father and revealed how Mammootty refused to ‘call in any favours’ for him and asked him to forge his own path.
Reflecting on his initial reluctance to embrace acting, Dulquer said, “I never thought I had a chance in movies because, in traditional Malayalam cinema, there was no concept of second-generation actors having made it. So, I was like, ‘That is not an option.’ The next thing I was exposed to was business and so then I thought, ‘Everybody is studying management so let me do that.’ But even there I realised that it was marketing and the creative side that got me excited. I thought numbers are so much black and white and movies have so much colour so, somehow, subconsciously I was seeking it. And I tried to stay away as far as possible because I realised that anything that I do in movies will be compared to my dad and I would definitely ruin his reputation. He is not just an actor, it’s even the way he conducts himself and I didn’t want to be that kid who messes it up.”
‘I don’t know how to protect you…’
From early on, Mammootty had made it clear to Dulquer that he needs to learn to take criticism if he wants to act. Recounting his father’s advice, Dulquer shared, “My father told me, ‘I can come and protect you from anything else but I cannot come and act for you. So when you are on the screen, you are going to get criticised, there will be brick and bats. They will try to bring you down more because you are my son and I don’t know how to protect you.’ Now, as a parent, I understand that. But I was also like, I should have my own journey and I need to face it on my own.”
‘I am not going to call in any favours…’
Mammootty even refused to call in any favours for his son to help him get a head start in his career. Revealing the same, Dulquer said, “I had a breakdown moment when I told my folks what I wanted to do. My dad was like, ‘I am not going to do anything for you, I am not going to call in any favours, I am not going to get you any opportunity. If you want to do this, nobody helped me, so you will have to figure it out yourself.’”
‘He is quietly proud of me…’
Now a prominent figure in regional and Hindi cinema, Dulquer acknowledges that his father quietly takes pride in his achievements. “When I was younger, my father had the same fear as me that I might not amount to anything. Now I think he is quietly proud of me. He doesn’t say things to my face but it’s there. He has certain conversations with his close group and I can tell that he is very proud. Now, we speak as friends and as equals which is the most delightful thing. I feel like in India, to kind of reach this stage with your father is like a moment, it’s an accomplishment,” he said.
Dulquer Salmaan will next be seen in King of Kotha, which will be a grand Onam release, opening in cinemas on August 24. He is also seen in director duo Raj and DK’s recent Netflix release Guns & Gulaabs.
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