Aditi Rao Hydrari – The New Indian Express
Express Message Service
“Pan-India” has become a trending buzzword and films dubbed into multiple languages and actors working in two or three languages are now deemed worthy. However, it’s quite fitting in the case of Dulquer Salmaan and Aditi Rao Hydari, who have carved a niche for themselves across the country.
Dulquer and Aditi play a married couple in Hey Sinamika, the directorial debut of National Award-winning choreographer Brinda. The film marks the first collaboration of these actors who have starred in their share of romantic relationship dramas especially in Tamil.
Aditi reveals that stories like this attract her and that she enjoys making them. “Relationship dramas usually have many layers and allow for scope for performance. It also helps that writers experiment a lot within the genre these days. The same love story can be told in different ways. It also helps that no two people’s stories are alike,” she says.
It’s interesting how Dulquer, who has experimented with genres in Malayalam (Kurup, Kali, Kammattipadam) and Telugu (Mahanati, Lieutenant Ram), largely stuck to being a “boy next door” (or should we say “boyfriend”) be -next door’) in Tamil.
Dulquer clarifies that this is not intentional. “I’m not the kind of person who rejects a good script just because I might have done something similar before. Ideally, I want all my films to be different, but that’s not easy because ultimately we can only decide on projects “from what’s presented to us,” he says.
The breezy Dulquer-Aditi romance turns into a complicated love triangle after the appearance of Kajal Aggarwal’s Malarvizhi, a relationship counselor. In most of our films, the appearance of the “other woman” is either slandered or ridiculed.
However, Hey Sinamika does away with this cliché and Aditi is happy about it. “In Hey Sinamika there is a certain dignity in how each of the three characters is treated. There is a full arc for everyone. The film isn’t just a typical triangular love story. It’s a mix of complicated relationships, roller coaster feelings, immaturity and a lot of bad choices,” says Aditi.
By the way, Hey Sinamika is one of those rare films with a mostly female crew. While Brinda is the director, the film will be directed by Preetha Jayaraman and edited by Radha Sridhar. The film offers a nuanced take on romance, and while Dulquer feels the film wasn’t viewed from any particular angle, he’s grateful to have worked with such a talented crew.
“I love the fact that Hey Sinamika is being made by a bunch of wonderfully talented engineers and actresses, but I also don’t want to put a gender label on the film. The screenplay is by Madhan Karky, whose writing is relevant and meaningful without broadly painting a character. My character in the film, as RJ, is able to address a lot of relevant issues, all of which stems from the depth of his writing,” he says.
Since release, it has been suggested by some that the film contains influences from Mani Ratnam’s work. From the catchy title, borrowed from a popular song in his film, OK Kanmani, to the characters, their worlds, dialogue and even certain visuals…
Both Dulquer and Aditi claim that the influence, if any, could only have been subconscious. “The comparisons could be due to the genre or the title of the film or the fact that some of us have worked with Mani Sir before. I don’t think there was a conscious attempt to replicate what he does. Everyone who has ever worked with Mani Sir is influenced by him, be it the actors, his assistants or the technicians,” says Dulquer.
With the pandemic shattering many well-thought-out plans in Indian cinema, actors have faced the unfortunate prospect of having their projects put on hold. Aditi is no different, and she shares the “terrible” feeling that comes with such a development.
“I’ve finished almost all my parts in the Dhanush direction and it’s going well. However, I have no idea what is happening with this film now. In fact, I found out about his status through the media,” says a dejected Aditi, comforted by Dulquer, who adds, “I can’t imagine how hard it must have been. I’m glad none of my projects have been a suffered a similar fate.”
Considering their pan-Indian status and the projects they are involved in, it’s not at all easy for Dulquer and Aditi to plan their call sheets. While Aditi will release a few Hindi films, Dulquer has several projects lined up in Malayalam, Telugu, Hindi and Tamil. He’s also making his digital debut in the upcoming Netflix series from Raj and DK.
“Planning is a nightmare. You can’t really plan these things. People complain that I don’t make enough films in their language, but I see it as an advantage. I don’t bombard them with films and audiences always will have element of surprise when you see me in their language. As we have spoken before, I am aware that most of my Tamil films are all set in the romantic hero realm, but maybe people will forgive it because I don’t make films regularly,”, says Dulquer.
However, Aditi is happy when people ask her about her upcoming films because it means she’s in their collective consciousness. “It’s better than people getting sick of me,” Aditi says with her signature laugh, adding, “If the script is good and I believe in the director, then the language doesn’t matter. It could be Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, French or even Spanish.”