‘On our first date, I spoke for some five hours.’
‘We met a few more times and then that first movie happened.’
‘I was married in six months.’
Photograph: Kind courtesy Dulquer Salmaan/Facebook
Dulquer Salmaan revealed a few insights from his life on Neha Dhupia’s chat show No Filter Neha.
The Malayalam actor is the first from southern cinema to appear on the show.
From falling in love with his wife Amaal to working in a food court, Dulquer shared some interesting answers.
Why he is bad at confrontation
My dad was a really angry person, he still is.
He has a temper.
I think we have grown up seeing this.
So my sister and me are really bad at confrontation.
We are those people, who have all these things we are going to say and on the drive back, we are like, saying it to ourselves.
I should have said this, man, this was my comeback. But I don’t do it.
I feel like I went through this phase in high school, middle school.
The one thing that irritates him
I think what really irks me is like people, airport, traffic…
I feel like any kind of entitlement, not because I am famous but people cutting queues, lack of discipline or patience, disrespect…
IMAGE: Thilakan and Dulquer Salmaan in his second film, Ustad Hotel.
On his first job
The school we went to, there was generally the trend everybody seemed to be studying abroad post their 12th.
So my sister and I went for Masters.
I went for my under grad and I know it was a pinch for my folks. So that was something that I was very aware of.
A lot of my friends in college were working, doing part time jobs and I was like I shouldn’t be so privileged.
I wanted to give it a shot, just to see whether I will enjoy it.
But it is super humbling.
My college was big for American football. If there is a home game, all of the parents of students studying there, alumni, everybody shows up.
I would be in the food court maybe working pizza, I remember this. And they would just get rowdy after a point, there are just so many pizzas I could make in that time, right?
So they would come into my space and cross into where I am working and I would have to be stern but not mean because I am still in services. But in my head I am like, ‘I so don’t need to do this, where I come from!’
It was much easier for me. I don’t think we have a major auditioning culture in Malayalam. It hasn’t been there traditionally.
There would obviously people be saying — ‘hey is your son looking to act? We were looking to cast newcomers in a film.’
So I would get these random inquiries, nothing I could connect to.
And then I found this one film where I just had the script and they were like everybody is a newcomer on this movie.
I was like great, I won’t be the only newcomer. We can all learn together, make mistakes together, I was like we all can do workshops and all of that.
So that’s how I stumbled upon my first film.
I will be lying if I say, ‘oh I really struggled’ or ‘I had to audition’ and all that jazz.
I didn’t. I had no idea how to go about it.
My dad was like don’t come to me, I am not going to make any phone calls. I refuse to ask people. He still, to this day, hasn’t which I love him for.
Randomly this inquiry came, I heard a few ideas and I liked this one.
How his second film changed his life
My second film really kind of like changed things around.
It’s called Ustad Hotel.
It’s a really beloved film; it won a National Award.
The entire film was about family and values, his bond with the sister, bond with the grandfather.
I feel, to this day, that if that movie plays on TV — and it’s played a lot — people just take me into their home with that one film.
I feel that’s where I really became a part of the audience.
It’s sort of a big moment for me to realise what have I just got into.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Dulquer Salmaan/Facebook
He talks to his cars!
I don’t have conversations with them, sometimes maybe!
Talking to cars, the only thing I remember growing up, I would be really sad when my dad would sell a car.
So I would have to have like one moment with the car alone, and I wouldn’t tell anybody about it because it’s embarrassing, it’s stupid.
I am like, you know you have been great, we have had really a great time with you, good memories. I hope you find a great new home.
I have kissed like the steering wheel, the roof of the car! I don’t know why.
I feel everyone should geek out on something. I think it’s good, it’s healthy.
How his met his wife, Amaal
I literally signed my first film the same month I met Amaal.
All the men in my family get married around that age and I was getting there.
You know I was like maybe I should get married.
I feel the media likes to play with, ‘Oh, they made sure that he has to get married before he gets into movies.’
It wasn’t that at all.
I don’t think even my folks thought like that.
My folks mostly live in Kerala and I have grown up in Chennai.
I knew of her, went to the same school, people just kept bringing this girl to my attention: ‘Amaal, she is from your school, from Chennai, you guys have so much in common.’
I don’t know if I believe in signs.
So I never see Amaal out in Chennai, she is not social at all, she is the opposite of me.
But randomly, I saw her once at a restaurant or like a salon or something.
I am like why is she randomly popping up.
Twice I had seen her, if I see her for the third time, I am going to do something about it.
I went out again and saw her. It was a friend’s wedding.
I felt it was a sign.
I felt I should at least be like, ‘Hey, we should grab a cup of coffee and see if we connect’ and it’s exactly what I did.
I reached out on Facebook or something and I was like, ‘Hey, I don’t know if you remember me from school.’
She didn’t reply for a few days and I felt that was weird.
I wasn’t that smooth, especially with something this serious.
Then it like snowballed instantly.
On our first date, I spoke for some five hours.
We met a few more times and then that first movie happened.
I was married in six months.
IMAGE: Sonam Kapoor and Dulquer Salmaan in The Zoya Factor
On doing intimate scenes in films
My hands shake.
One of my tricks when I do intimate scenes is that I always tuck a woman’s hair behind her ear.
I find it very endearing, in real life also.
But in real life, it’s always easier.
It’s a familiar person — I have a lot of familiarity with my wife, even with my sister or mum. When I make physical contact or show affection, it’s easy for me.
But every time I am with a co-star, — I mean I have got a lot better now — but I am always thinking, are they thinking that I am a jerk that I am getting some kick out of this?
When they catch this — women are very quick to find out, they are very sharp — they are almost always amused.
Then I feel like I am like naked, that they can see right through me, what I am going through.
People like Sonam are very sweet about it but I have got a lot better. Still, it’s not my favourite thing to shoot.