Actor Dulquer Salmaan says he is perplexed by the widespread use of the term "pan-India" for films, claiming that it is impossible to create a film that works on a national level while also resonating with a wider audience organically.
The two-part action-adventure series "Baahubali," directed by SS Rajamouli and released between 2015 and 2017, is widely credited with bridging the gap between the North and South film industries.
After films starring South stars such as actor Vijay's ‘Master’ and Allu Arjun's ‘Pushpa’ broke box office records in Hindi regions, the term "pan-India" gained traction.
In an interview with PTI, the 35-year-old actor said, “The word pan-India really irks me. I just don't like hearing it. I love that there is so much exchange of talent happening in cinema, it's great, but we are one country. I don't think anyone says pan-America. I don't get it, even though they say it sweetly.”
Salmaan, who has starred in films such as ‘O Kadhal Kanmani,’ ‘Bangalore Days,’ ‘Hey Sinamika,’ and ‘Kurup,’ said that the films that have travelled across India are those that were primarily made for a single market.
The actor believes that if a project is designed to appeal to everyone, it "won't belong anywhere."
Salmaan said, “You can't engineer a pan-India film. Those films that have actually travelled across India are the ones which were rooted and made for one market. If you try to do a 'pan-India' film, try to appeal to all audiences for different markets, it will not belong anywhere.”
The actor added that filmmakers should not lose the sensibilities or the culture of that particular story.
He said, “So, you make your film as rooted as it can be, tell the story of that land and mount it bigger, cast it differently and maybe put in a few familiar faces from different markets. I get all of that but I don't think you should lose the sensibilities or the culture of that particular story.”
Salmaan is currently starring in the Malayalam police procedural drama ‘Salute,’ which is available on streaming platform SonyLIV. Filmmaker Rosshan Andrews directs the film, which was written by Bobby and Sanjay. For the first time in his career, the actor plays a cop in the film.
The actor said he had been in talks with the director and the writers for a long time about working together on a project, but he had never felt so strongly about a script as he did with ‘Salute’.
The film alternates between flashbacks and present-day scenes, with Salmaan playing a once-dedicated sub inspector looking for redemption after a misstep.
Speaking about doing cop movies, Salmaan added, “I am not drawn to the typical masala cop movies. Sometimes I feel I am weird because I don't do a lot more masala, mainstream stuff like that. But I loved this character of Aravind. He is conflicted, he loves his family but also has his own principles. He wants to do the right thing but the system isn't letting him.”
Salmaan has also lent his support to the film through his production company, Wayfarer Films, which he founded in 2020.
The actor, who is the son of Malayalam superstar Mammootty, claims that being in charge of production gives him more control over his films, from budgeting to ensuring a successful release.
He said, “Before I became an actor, my dad had produced a few films but they hadn't really worked. We had some luck in producing TV content but not exactly films. The landscape was also different then. Now, there are so many outlets, satelites, OTTs, the markets have grown. Now you can mount a film and land safely.”
Salmaan wnt on to say how he always wanted to produce films.
He added, “But I wanted to produce because I have seen many times that there have been issues with producers on my films, sometimes there are delays, sometimes the releases are not good, marketing isn't good. So, I want to be there for my films, from start to finish.”
‘Salute’ also marks the Malayalam debut of actress Diana Penty.
- With Inputs From PTI