Malayalam superstar Dulquer Salmaan is known for his signature blush, charming good looks and intense performances. Usually shy and reclusive, the superstar opened up in an exclusive conversation with HELLO! And took us through his upbringing away from the spotlight, his box office successes, his iconic father Mammootty and his best friend and wife, Amaal Sufiya.
Here are five things we discovered about Dulquer Salmaan through our conversation…
He is a family man, through and through
Despite his tireless schedule, Dulquer is a devoted family man. Amaal is “his best friend”, and he loves to explore new destinations with her. “We travel as much as possible, but once your child starts school, matching dates becomes difficult. Before Maryam was born, we’d travel every chance we had. We’d just go... It could be to a place in India or Sri Lanka.” He also added that, “When I’m with my family, I take in all of it—I do the school runs, I serve their meals, I go for their play dates. I try to be there as much as I can. It’s quite a limited time,” says the actor.
He never wanted to be an actor
It’s ironic that the bashful boy who once dodged the spotlight chose the very field he cowered from. Like most youngsters who often experiment with different career paths before finding their true calling, Dulquer went through the gamut of studying and working abroad. Ask him what made him opt for a business management degree and he quips, “Everyone was getting one, so I got one, too. I worked in the US and in Dubai. I was into quality consulting. I’ve always had a love for investing.” Dulquer discovered his innate love for acting relatively later in life—after he married Amaal, his junior from their school in Chennai. “After I reached a certain age, I realised that one has to face their biggest fears to be happy. And my biggest fear was acting.”
He would never star in remakes of his father’s superhits
Like all star sons, Dulquer would always be compared to his superstar father, Mammootty. Over time, he came to terms with the fact that there would be some measure of pressure on him. So he went on to create his own rule book that helped him evolve and find his distinct identity as an actor. “I observed all the star kids and I decided I would not work in any remakes of my father’s movies. I didn’t want to do sequels or prequels of his films. It also helped that I don’t resemble him, and we have different personalities.”
He is extremely humble and approachable
Surrounded by old-world elegance, we’re by the grand staircase at Taj Falaknuma Palace, where Dulquer’s putting on a show for the camera, showing us why he’s one of the most sought-after actors in India. A fan passing by lights up as she recognises him and patiently waits for an autograph. Next on display is the 36-year-old’s endearing, disarming humility. He makes it a point to interact with the young lady, evidently used to the adulation but never letting it intoxicate him. “I don’t think too much about it. My folks never raised us with this false sense of security. They didn’t know what my dad’s career would be like. If a film works, we are all relieved. At our house, at the most, we feast on some biryani to celebrate. But if a film doesn’t work, it’s a collective low for all. Nothing changed in us in terms of our attitude or lifestyle.”
His love story is straight out of a millennial’s dream journal
Amaal was five years his junior at Sishya in Chennai, though they connected only several years later. “A lot of my friends in Chennai kept bringing up her name. We had a lot in common. We were born and raised in Chennai and also kept bumping into each other. So one day, I messaged her on Facebook and asked her out for a cup of coffee. I think our folks met three weeks later.” Despite hailing from a non-film background, Amaal adapted well to his world of glamour. “I don’t know how much she really thought it through. One fine day, I sprung it on her, when I told her I wanted to act and direct. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I only knew that if it didn’t work out, I’d give something else a shot. But if it did, I’d take it one step at a time.”
Videographer: K Vamshi Krishna; Creative Direction & Styling: Amber Tikari; Make-Up: Biju M Bhaskaran; Hair: Rohit Bhatkar; Location Courtesy: Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
This story has been adapted for the website from a story that was originally published in Hello! India’s May 2022 issue. To read the full interview, get your hands on the latest issue right here!