The concept of being a fangirl remained a very far fetched idea in my head for the longest time. The arrogant little kid in me would never let me admire anyone so much. So I never understood what it was like to fall in love with an on-screen character or to wait religiously to go watch a certain actor’s film on the first day in the theatres or to get into heated arguments over who is the better actor.
The concept of being a fangirl remained a very far fetched idea until I happened to watch Ustad Hotel back in Tvm during one of my summer vacations. Movies were a very important part of our summer vacations and so the ritual couldn’t be taken for granted. But amidst the exciting smell of the worn-out seats, Dubai scents and the cheap popcorn, it was the face of the leather-clad lad on the other end of the screen, brightly lit amidst a thousand other party-goers dancing to Appangalembadum, that caught my attention. There was an instant liking that I had developed towards the character and even more towards the actor. There has been no looking back since.
The films were always humble with beautifully written characters that you’d play with such enchanting beauty that I couldn’t stop obsessing over it . But it was never just about the physical appearance and the charisma. Don’t get me wrong. I am an absolute loser for your beauty but there was always more to it than just that. It was the conviction with which you played every character like it was designed for you and the spontaneity that each one of them brought along.
There was always something about an Adi, a Charlie, an Aju, a Siddharth, a Kasi or even a Balan K. Nair that made me look for myself in them if I wasn’t already hopelessly dreaming about having crossed paths with them in an alternate reality. I mean I was one of those few to have re-watched 100 days of Love and Kullante Bharya religiously even before “Dulqer” became a brand cause what I’ve always seen in you as a fan is an admirable inspiration far away from the boundaries of stardom or mindless idol-worshipping!
I was exposed to your films at a very influential age in my life. A time when dreams and aspirations remained a more possible reality and your films provided to be a pathway to it. I was just beginning to admire Siddharth and Ajju when the announcement about a Dulquer and Nithya Menen starrer Mani Ratnam film came about. I can’t remember experiencing joy like I did on the day when my dad sneakily showed me the tickets to the film. Everytime I feel like I am having a lousy day, I just have to look into my head for the two magical words - Adi, Taraaa…! That’s all that it takes to plaster a huge smile on my face and shove some love into my heart.
It was also around that time that people started boxing you into a character trope. The Easy-go-Lucky Modern Chocolate Boy! The judgement came as an astonishing surprise to me because if there’s anything that I’ve admired about your films then it’s the versatility of the characters you’ve played. I mean who else can do a Kammatipadam with as much conviction as a CIA or a Vaayai Moodi Pesavum. My fair arguments wouldn’t have made it through if not for Mahanati that came in as a fitting response to the banters. The Period Drama showed us a whole new potential and introduced you to a new industry and a bigger fan base. But only a true fan would understand the painful reality of having to share their idol despite having falling in love with all their on-screen characters, waited religiously to go watch each one of their FDFS and getting into heated arguments in a non-native state over how they’ll always be the better actor!
But the truth is that none of that will change what your journey as an actor has meant to me. As much as the OK Kanmani fanatic in me would die a thousand deaths to admit it, it is Charlie who has truly remained the closest to my heart. I don’t know what it is about the film - the idea of the search for a mystical Gin, the fact that you own the character so effortlessly or Tessa’s super inspiring journey,but the film excites me to no limits! When I say watching Charlie gives me the satisfaction of having witnessed the first rains after a dry summer season, I might only be toning down the true joy this film brings me. That’s the magic that a Dulqer’s film can create in my life.
My journey as a fangirl started eight years ago when a young confused teen couldn’t stop humming Appangalembadum while obsessing over the leather-clad lad on the other end of the screen. The years have passed, the confusion has remained and more truths of life unveiled but the journey still continues. The journey towards Love, Happiness and the little joys that these emotions can bring about in your life. And through this journey of loving and admiring someone so immensely, I might have begun to start liking myself a little better!