Mumbai | Malayalam cinema industry is known for its intimate storytelling but there was a need to draw people to theatres by offering something "visually spectacular", says superstar Dulquer Salman on why he decided to back the big budget drama "King of Kotha" as a producer and actor.
Salmaan, who is also enjoying a successful OTT debut with Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK's Netflix series “Guns and Gulaabs”, said he had been dreaming of making movies that did “big theatrical numbers” for a while.
"In the current climate, people want theatrical experience. In Malayalam, we do so much of smaller, intimate realistic storytelling... I was like, ‘You need to draw people to theatres. They should come and celebrate'. It should be visually spectacular and technically sound,” Salmaan told PTI in an interview.
"The massive tentpole films that we all celebrate are not made easily. There's a lot of effort, time, and money that go into it," the actor said, explaining what went into creating the massive sets of the film that was reportedly made on a budget of Rs 50 to 60 crore.
There were many challenges along the way, but Salmaan said he and the team had fun overcoming these obstacles.
"If we struggle with this film in this sort of budget, how the hell did they make ‘Baahubali', or ‘RRR'? Like those are 500 days of shoot and have an incredible amount of extras. Me and my team love challenges but my family wanted me to take a break and not produce the next one because of the stress level," he added. "King of Kotha" is Salmaan's seventh project as a producer but first period action-drama in his over a decade long career.
The story, which revolves around a gangster, required huge sets and more crew, and junior artists, all of which increased the budget, the actor said. It was shot in Karaikudi area of Tamil Nadu.
“This place doesn't have the best connectivity. Most of our cast and crew and technicians had to come from Kerala or Chennai. We had a huge setup, with a football thing or a song and dance (sequences), and had 1,000 people.
"This logistical stuff you can budget and plan, but nature has its own sense of humour sometimes, it rains when you have the biggest setup,” he added.
The actor, who has been part of “King of Kotha” since its ideation stage in 2019, said the narrative demanded that the movie be made in a certain budget.
"I've been part of this from the seed to the multiple drafts, it boils down to the story, it is rich in characters. There are many more actors on board and every character drives the narrative in some way. Like, how in ‘Guns and Gulaabs' everybody is crucial to the narrative, so this could be one,” he said.
Salmaan is nervous ahead of the release of “King of Kotha”, which will hit theatres on August 24. The movie is dubbed in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Kannada.
He had the support of many top stars from different industries such as Shah Rukh Khan, Suriya, Nani, and Rana Dagubbati in promoting it. Salmaan said the idea behind that was to make more people aware about the project.
"I've done this a lot for many of the films whenever a Malayalam version comes, I'm the go-to guy. I think ‘Kurup' is the first time I ever requested anybody to launch our teaser or trailer, this time for ‘King of Kotha', Zee Studios was like we can request the best and biggest actors.
"For the Malayalam industry, this is very exciting, it doesn't happen very often, so to see that support and love is a big moment for us. The way it spreads then, when some of the big stars share, it is reflected in the views our trailer got, I think it has broken all records for a Malayalam film trailer. So, a lot of gratitude for that,” he added.
"King of Kotha” also features Aishwarya Lekshmi of “Ponniyin Selvan” fame, Shabeer Kallarakkal, Prasanna, and Gokul Suresh among others.