'King of Kotha' is undisputedly the biggest film in Dulquer Salman’s career. The actor had a chat with Manorama about his passion project. Dulquer calls KoK a “huge challenge as a producer and actor.” He admits that it took a lot of discussions to eventually reach the shape that it is now. It was the experiences while working on other films that gave him the confidence to do a film of this scale. Dulquer used to keep aside the paycheck he got from ads as well as from my other films as they had to make a detailed budget. But when Zee Studios tied up with Wayfarer films they gained more courage. According to Dulquer, the audience's responses to the first-look poster were encouraging. Later they were able to maintain and elevate that hype. "We have tried our best to make this big-budget film into a great theatre experience. It will be a fine gangster drama," says the actor.
About King of Kotha
Kotha is a fictitious village. Since we wanted to depict a village filled with crime, devoid of law and order, such a setting was required. I think it has really worked in the film. There are many characters in the film, and they are all well-written. Even Kotha becomes a character in the film.
Abhilash Joshiy is a childhood friend
Abhi is one of the earliest friends I had. We used to discuss films right from childhood. During college days we had tried to make shorts in the backdrop of our homes. At that time I was keen on direction. That training was what made us love cinema. It also helped in viewing cinema differently from other professions. Later Abhi became VKP’s assistant and did a lot of ads. He also worked as an AD.
Compared to Dulquer, Abhilash seemed to have taken more time to enter films
As a director, Abhilash was very particular about his first film. It took us 4-5 years to reach a premise like 'King of Kotha'. Though he approached me with a lot of stories, I wasn’t satisfied. I felt many of the stories wouldn’t work. I would tell him to look for a better one. Abhi was also losing his patience. He would wonder if I was simply fooling him or didn’t have confidence in his abilities. But later when he told me the one-liner about KoK, I agreed.
There are four 2nd generation actors and technicians in the film.
Yes, there is also Shammi Thilakan and Gokul Suresh, apart from us. But that wasn’t deliberate. They are all artists who have already made their mark in the industry. Just that there are many familiar faces and 'KoK' needed them. And they have all performed beautifully.
Guns and Gulaabs
I like the web series format. I have enjoyed watching 'Scam', '1992', and 'Delhi Crime'. I think as an actor we should always look forward to better opportunities. I decided to do ‘Guns and Gulaabs’ as an opportunity to learn about this format. They usually shoot each actor’s portions individually. It might take 3 months. Though we wouldn’t have shooting every day. Actually, I have taken much more time to finish films. In a day they would shoot 13-14 pages of screenplay for a web series. They would use multiple cameras and long shots. So that means we will get more time to be in the character. I like it. Just that the Hindi dialogues took some effort.
A film with Mammootty
I would love to. Maybe it will come one day. Currently, we are both busy with our individual films. But then if we were to do such a film, it has to be something special. But yes, as always such a decision should come from his side.