Mumbai: At a time when big-scale spectacles like ”RRR” are dominating cinema houses, actor Dulquer Salmaan on Friday said he was worried if a ”small boat” like his Telugu film ”Sita Ramam” would get adequate screens across the country.
Starring Salmaan, Rashmika Mandanna, and Mrunal Thakur, the poetic romance drama opened in theatres on August 5 to generally favourable reviews. It started streaming on Prime Video from September 9.
Produced by Vyjayanthi Movies and Swapna Cinema, ”Sita Ramam” unravels the mysterious love story of Lieutenant Ram (Salmaan), an orphan soldier whose life changes after receiving a letter from Sita (Thakur). It is directed by Hanu Raghavapudi.
Citing the example of SS Rajamouli’s hit period action epic ”RRR”, Salmaan said big-ticket films usually get an easier release in theatres as compared to the smaller ones.
”When you have to do a film like this, in multiple languages, it has been difficult to plan the release. If a very big film, like ‘RRR’, is coming then everybody will make way for it. ”It is like big ship is coming, all the small boats go out of the way, I don’t think we were a big ship, we were a fairly small, ok, a big boat,” the actor, who is a huge star in Malayalam cinema, told reporters here at the success press conference of ”Sita Ramam”.
Salmaan said ”Sita Ramam” had a good start in Telugu and Tamil languages, but it wasn’t a good week in the Malayalam circuit as they were in competition with other movies.
He said the team wasn’t sure if the movie will get enough screens in the northern belt because a few big Bollywood releases were set to arrive in theatres at that point in time.
Jayantilal Gada of Pen Studios had released ”Sita Ramam” in the Hindi market in theatres on September 2.
”In Hindi at that time, there were a lot of big films coming out. This is my understanding and from my producers also, there were these massive films lined up and we didn’t know if we would even get a chance to breathe. You come and release and maybe not get screens,” Salmaan added.
The actor shared many of his previous films released but didn’t get screens or good show timings as there were bigger titles lined up for a debut.
”So, there is a lot of this economics and logistics that kind of decide a film’s release. Also, it (‘Sita Ramam’) is a love story, a genre that is not something that we see doing huge numbers or bringing audiences in large numbers to the theatre,” Salmaan added.
The 36-year-old actor also said he was initially worried if audiences would warm up to ”Sita Ramam” because love stories are no longer considered to be crowd pullers.
”Love stories for a while hadn’t set the box office on fire, so that was another concern. I was anxious. Now, all of you have given us more courage, the next films that we believe are special, we will dub and release them (here in Hindi),” he said.
Asked his thoughts about remaking ”Sita Ramam”, Salmaan said he is against the remake trend and believes a classic should be left untouched.
As an actor, he said, he listens to scripts across four languages – Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi.
”We all genuinely believed and hoped that ‘Sita Ramam’ will be an epic and classic but we were not sure and in not being sure we put extra effort, put heart, soul, blood, and sweat in the film.
”I don’t think it is a film that can be made again. Every time there is a beloved classic film, I don’t think it should be touched or made a sequel out of it.” Asked about parallels between ”Sita Ramam” and Shah Rukh Khan-Preity Zinta’s 2004 romantic drama ”Veer Zaara”, Salmaan said it was unfair to compare the two.
The actor said he is a huge Shah Rukh fan, both on and off-screen.
”He is such a model for all of us to follow. How he treats people, how he talks to them, how respectful he is with women. He is very special. I have grown up watching and loving his films like ‘DDLJ’. He has always been an inspiration.
”So, I am sure I have had influences in maybe how I interact with people, subconsciously. But comparing him to me is like insulting him because there is only one Shah Rukh Khan,” Salmaan added.
Leading lady Thakur revealed she used to listen to songs from Shah Rukh’s movies before shooting for a scene on ”Sita Ramam”.
”I always wanted to play a character that is larger-than-life and wanted to have a character that has two shades, like it is different in the first and second half.
”I got time in between the schedules due to COVID-19 (outbreak) and I got that time to prepare for my character. I used to play Shah Rukh Khan songs in the background before going to the scenes,” she added.