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Here’s why Nivin, Dulquer and Fahadh are establishing their base outside Malayalam filmdom

Malayalam stars such as Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan and Fahadh Faasil have set their eyes on Tamil filmdom and are seriously building a strong fan base.

regional movies Updated: Dec 10, 2017 14:42 IST
Haricharan Pudipeddi
Haricharan Pudipeddi
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Rajinikanth,Kamal Haasan,Nivin Pauly
Nivin Pauly made his Tamil debut with Richie. Dulquer has already done a couple of Tamil films and Fahadh is currently working on two Tamil films.

An actor from one industry crossing over and making a mark in another industry has been a trend for a long time. Tamil stars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, who have had their share of limelight in Bollywood and few other industries, are the best examples but they didn’t pursue these opportunities as seriously as actors of today’s generation. Malayalam stars such as Nivin Pauly, Dulquer Salmaan and Fahadh Faasil have set their eyes on Tamil filmdom and are seriously building a strong fan base.

Nivin, on the release of his first straight Tamil film Richie, which hit the screens on Friday, said it’s always been his dream to do a Tamil film. While most believe Nivin’s decision to jump on the bandwagon could be the pan south Indian appeal of Premam, he thinks otherwise. “I think cinema has broken boundaries. Even though we make films in one language, it’s no longer restricted to a particular region or its audiences. Cinema has become global and that’s why we try and make films that have some universal connect. Even before Premam, my film Neram had released in Tamil and it was well received. The reception for Premam definitely widened by market in Tamil Nadu but the film’s success is not the sole reason why I’m exploring more opportunities in Tamil,” Nivin told Hindustan Times, and added that he has one more Tamil project in the offing; a yet-untitled project for producer RD Raja of 24 AM Studios next year.

Nivin Pauly in his recently released Richie.

Nivin also said he gets an opportunity to experiment when he gets to do films in other languages. “In Malayalam, I have to live up to a certain image I have earned over the years. That’s not the case when I do films in other languages. After Premam, I was offered so many films in similar space; to play romantic characters, but if you see my last few releases, I’ve consciously tried to play different roles. In Richie, I have gone completely against the grain and played a role that has no scope for romance,” he said.

Dulquer, on the other hand, has starred in three Tamil films -- Vaaya Moodi Pesavum, Mani Ratnam’s OK Kanmani and Solo. He is currently shooting for his fourth Tamil outing, Kannum Kannum Kolladithal, which also stars Ritu Varma. Except Ok Kanmani, the other two projects didn’t elicit great response at the box-office, despite working content-wise with critics and audiences alike. Dulquer has also forayed into Telugu industry with Mahanati, a biopic on legendary southern actor Savitri. Speaking about Mahanati and his decision to do a Telugu project, Dulquer said: “It’s been my long-time desire to do a period flick. In Malayalam, we don’t have the budget to do projects on a scale Mahanati is being made. I’m lucky I was offered this project. I don’t know Telugu but they wanted me to give it a shot. It’s a young team; young director, young producer. The intention is to make something special. If the intention is right, it’ll be a good film.”

Dulquer Salmaan became a household name after he played Faizi, a young man who follows his passion to become a chef, in the 2012-starrer Ustad Hotel.

On the lukewarm commercial response to his Tamil films, Dulquer said: “It’s not that all my Malayalam films have done well. My desire has always been to surprise and entertain audiences via different kind of films. The first two Tamil films have registered me in their minds. Solo, irrespective of his fate at the box-office, is a project I’ll always be proud of doing.”

Over the years, Malayalam stars such as Prithviraj, Mohanlal and Jayaram have tried their luck in Tamil and Telugu industries. Prithviraj has done nearly a dozen Tamil projects and he’s also been part of Mani Ratnam’s Raavan and the critically-acclaimed Kaaviya Thalaivan. Unfortunately, most of these films have been unsuccessful but he has no regrets. When I met him last year on the sets of Ezra, he opened up about expanding his horizons. “I’m not constantly in search of good stuff from other industries. Although in terms of original, new-age content, Malayalam industry is way ahead but every industry has its share good and original cinema. A Lucia happens in Kannada or a Sairat comes from Marathi. In Tamil, the new age filmmakers are very exciting. From Karthik Subbaraj to so many and even though you realize they’re inspired by many filmmakers, in essence their filmmaking to me seems very original,” he said, adding I’m at a stage in my career where the success of a film doesn’t matter anymore. Agreed, someone has invested money and you expect returns. As an actor, doing content that excites me the most is of high importance for me. Prithviraj has signed a Tamil multi-starrer with Gautham Menon and the project will unite leading stars from four southern industries. “I have also heard a brilliant script from the director of Demonte Colony, but I haven’t found the time to even think of doing the project.”

Fahadh Faasil is working in two Tamil films.

Fahadh Faasil has two Tamil projects in his kitty. In Sivakarthikeyan’s Velaikkaran, confirmed to hit the screens on December 22, he’s rumoured to be playing the negative role. He also has Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Super Deluxe. It’s no longer about playing the hero, says a leading producer, commenting on many actors’ decision to crossover. “Mohanlal didn’t mind playing an important character in Telugu film Janatha Garage. Akshay Kumar, who is a star in Bollywood, is playing the antagonist in 2.0. When you’re catering to new audiences, as an actor you want to do something new. Look at what Dhanush has done in Bollywood. He’s taken up the kind of projects he can’t attempt in Tamil.”

It’ll be interesting to see how this trend shapes up in the next few years as more and more actors are keen on exploring new markets.

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First Published: Dec 10, 2017 14:39 IST