For actors, Mani Ratnam is an institution: Dulquer
Actor Dulquer Salman, who worked under Mani Ratnam’s direction in ‘O Kadhal Kanmani’, says for any actor to work with the acclaimed filmmaker is like going to the world’s top university. Dulquer spoke about it on Saavn’s entertainment-based audio show “Take 2 with Anupama and Rajeev” podcast. The actor has been on Mani Ratnam’s sets since he was a child. The son of Malayalam superstar Mammootty used to be on the sets of ‘Thalapathi’.
How was it to have Mani Ratnam direct your father and to work with that same director as a leading man?
“It was amazing. My dad and Mani Ratnam sir have met several times even after ‘Thalapathi’ and discussed several films. They became very close while doing ‘Iruvar’ together. I have just seen Mani Sir around my house a lot and his office is literally very close to my house in Chennai,” Dulquer said. When Dulquer finally sat to work with the director himself, he was “super intimidated” by him. “With Mani sir, you kind of have to have things to talk about or get really silent. He doesn’t talk at all, so there was a moment in between the shots and I was sitting next to him and I am like ‘Say something, anything, come up with something clever’, and there is deafening silence.
“I was sure he was running through the scenes in his head. Getting Mani sir’s film for an actor is like getting into Harvard or something… Getting cast or getting a call is like some kind of accomplishment. Somewhere your work is being noticed or you have been doing something,” added the young actor, who is working across different languages. In the recent past, he has worked in movies like ‘Solo’, ‘Mahanati’ and ‘Karwaan’.
Does he find a big cultural difference in being on a Hindi film set to a set in the south?
“Honestly speaking, I connect or relate more to a Hindi film set because all my Assistant Directors and pretty much everyone I work with would have kind of grown up like me. “They would have developed in big cities, they are all fairly well-travelled, we probably read the same books and watch the same movies. But the smaller industry not so much, but they at the most have exposure to maybe Bengaluru or Mumbai… maybe not rest of the world, so (it’s the) little things like that.
“That’s the big difference that I find.”