Dulquer Salmaan is in Dehradun happily shooting for his debut web series. Looks like he isn’t really perturbed by the controversies surrounding his latest film's OTT release. The theatre owners have banned his films from screening in theatres protesting against the OTT release of 'Salute'.
He is extremely diplomatic when it comes to the ban— “Just because my film ‘Kurup’ was released in theatres and it became a success, I can’t expect any special treatment from the theatre owners. I know that they have to take a stand when I released ‘Salute’ directly on OTT. Even before OTT releases have had such issues with theatre owners. Our intention was never to hurt the theatre owners or the audience. I think every actor would love to release their films in the theatre. Of course, I am unhappy to miss out on the FDFS audience reactions that come with such theatre releases. There is a special thrill in that. Unfortunately, we couldn’t avoid 'Salute’s' OTT release.
A powerful cop role is always exciting to watch on screen for fans. So wasn’t Aravind Karunakaran meant to be watched in theatres?
We finished ‘Salute’ last March. We had no clear idea regarding theatre openings back then. Therefore we hadn’t really made ‘Salute’ for the theatres. That’s why we even avoided songs in the film. The film was made for the OTT. But we did try for a big-screen release when theatres reopened. But then came Omicron. Then it was the question of getting a good release date. We already had a contract with Sony Liv that if we are unable to release it in theatres during the stipulated time, we had to directly release it on OTT. Also, we were under contract to release it during this financial year and therefore the film went to OTT.
This is your first film with Roshan Andrews. What are your expectations from 'Salute'?
I have always wished to be part of a film with the Roshan Andrews-Bobby-Sanjay team. We had also discussed various ideas previously. I was super excited when I heard about the story of ‘Salute’ which is also a tense investigative thriller. I am sure the film will give a realistic visual experience. There is also a solid family drama in ‘Salute.’
People are waiting eagerly for a Mammootty-Dulquer Salmaan union on screen. In fact lot of people felt you should have been ideal for Soubin Shahir’s role in ‘Bheeshma Parvam.’
I think Soubin has done a terrific job as Ajas. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am also very interested in acting with Vaapachi. But then that is something he himself has to decide. I think his intention is noble regarding his reluctance to act with me. He wants us to do different films that will keep our identities separate as actors and that will help our career also. But yes, at least once, I am dying to share screen space with him.
There is a criticism that you should concentrate more on Malayalam than act in middling other language films. Are you looking for a pan-Indian label?
Never. Such a plan or thought never crossed my mind. I am just looking forward to grabbing the interesting opportunities that come my way. If I liked a story, I don’t really think about the language. And I am not someone who only focusses on mainstream films too. I am interested in knowing more about the business model of other language films as well.
What are your plans for Wayfarer films? You are also producing a lot of small films.
I am interested in producing quality films. From the time I came into films, I have got many great opportunities as an actor. But it isn’t necessary that such a privilege is accorded to every newcomer who wants to try their luck in films. There are so many actors who aren’t getting enough opportunities despite their talent. Wayfarer hopes to give more opportunities to such people. So many of our small films have been big successes. I will be proud to produce such films. Following Covid, so many films have been stalled. I am hoping to help them in some way, including distributing them.