Nepotism in any industry, forget cinema, is definitely not recommended but occasionally it delivers us some really amazing actors. Malayalam Cinema has never been under the scanner for this practice. Maybe more so, because most of the talent that comes out of nepotism are some truly good actors (and that it allows star-kids and outsiders to co-exist in the nearly same ground). Like for example, the Sukumaran brothers - Prithviraj and Indrajith. Or Fahadh Faasil. Or Keerthy Suresh. Why, the crush-worthy Dulquer Salmaan is also a prime example of nepotism gone right. Did You Know Dulquer Salmaan Was the First Choice For Premam And Not Nivin Pauly?

The prodigal son of eternally handsome superstar Mammootty, Dulquer Salmaan made his acting debut in the 2011 crime film, Second Show, after completing a Business Management from Purdue University. While the film was an average grosser, Dulquer's performance was noticed.

He gained stardom with his second film, Ustad Hotel, that not only impressed the critics but was also a hit. The successes of his subsequent films like ABCD, Bangalore Days, Vikramadithyan, Charlie etc turned him to a superstar and the darling of the classes and the masses. Despite both father and son reigning in Malayalam Cinema, Mammootty and Dulquer never took the gimmick of starring together in a film, though Dulquer sang a track in his father's film, ManglishMani Ratnam Birthday: From Kamal Haasan’s Nayakan to Dulquer Salmaan’s OK Kanmani, 6 Times Bollywood Looked to the Director’s Amazing Films for Inspiration!

While already a popular actor for his looks, Dulquer's pan-India appeal increased with the success of his Tamil film, Mani Ratnam's OK Kanmani. Bollywood beckoned, and like with his predecessors from Malayalam Cinema, Dulquer didn't find a favourable box office fate there. But he was appreciated for his performances in both his Hindi outings, Karwaan and The Zoya Factor.

Whether Bollywood deserves a fine actor like Dulquer or not, is a debate for another day. But if you have a non-Mallu friend who is a DQ fan, and he/she wants you to recommend some good Mallu movies of his, why not go for the below recommendations, to show his range has an actor. Also, yeah, dear DQ, wishing you Many Many Happy Returns of the Day, on your 34th birthday!

Ustad Hotel

Dulquer Salmaan and Thilakan in Ustad Hotel

DQ was quite raw in his first film, Second Show. He was far more polished in his sophomore outing, the highly enjoyable Ustad Hotel, where he plays a hotel management student with an identity crisis. Benefitting from Anwar Rasheed's slick direction and Anjali Menon's entertaining script, Ustad Hotel will be loved by many for the scenes involving Dulquer with the late, great Thilakan. And if you are an avid food lover. Watch Ustad Hotel on Disney+ Hotstar.

ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi

Dulquer Salmaan and Jacob Gregory in ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi

Martin Prakkat's satirical comedy has Dulquer and Jacob Gregory play two irresponsible NRI brats, whose antics create headaches for their family. They are fooled into being sent to Kerala to study, with the intention of teaching them humility. But as the adage goes, a dog's tail can never be straight, can it? ABCD allows you to admire Dulquer's comical skills, while he forms a terrific duo with Gregory. Also watch out for Tovino Thomas making a mark as an unlikely antagonist. Watch ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi on Disney+ Hotstar.

Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi

Dulquer Salmaan in Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi

This Sameer Thahir movie has Dulquer play a determined youngster who defies his strict father's orders to take a cross-country road trip and unite with his girlfriend in Nagaland. The movie reunites him with his Second Show co-star Sunny Wayne, and has some really beautiful visuals and locales and good performances from the cast. Watch Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi on Disney+ Hotstar.

Bangalore Days

Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim in Bangalore Days

Anjali Menon's coming-of-age romantic drama is perhaps the most watched Mallu film of Dulquer's by his non-Mallu fans. It is a perfectly enjoyable entertainer with enough humour, sentiments, lovely music and some amazingly scripted scenes. Dulquer, Nivin Pauly and Nazriya Nazim share incredible chemistry as the three cousins, while Fahadh Faasil, Parvathy and Kalpana are too good in their supporting roles. Watch Bangalore Days on Disney+ Hotstar.

Vikramadithyan

Dulquer Salmaan in Vikramadithyan

Lal Jose's coming-of-age drama pits two friends, divided by their circumstances, against each other in a game of career and romance, but without going the usual route. While Unni Mukundan plays a character that comes from a privileged family, Dulquer plays a character from a poorer background and growing up with a stigma of being a thief's son. Lal Jose allows his narrative to enjoy their friendly rivalry as they compete to win the same girl and the same job in the police department. Also boasts of a terrific climax, featuring cameo from Nivin Pauly, that will leave you pleased for sure. Watch Vikramadithyan on Amazon Prime Video.

Charlie

Dulquer Salmaan in Charlie

If you are someone seeking a Bohemian lifestyle, maybe Dulquer Salmaan's Charlie could inspire you a lot. Charlie is a wanderer with a good heart, who cannot be reigned in with mere Earthly responsibilities. And despite having never seen him before, the new occupant of his once-rented house, played by Parvathy, becomes truly obsessed with him. And so are most of the characters whose lives have been touched by Charlie. Charlie, directed by Martin Prakkat, has an interesting narrative, good music and striking visuals, and superb performances from both Dulquer and Parvathy. Both of them won the Best Actor awards at Kerala State Film Awards in 2016. Watch Charlie online on Amazon Prime Video, MX Player and Jio Cinema.

Kali

Dulquer Salmaan in Kali

Kali, directed by Sameer Thahir, may give you an idea that you are watching a romantic drama between a bank employee with anger management issues and his patient wife. Mid-way, though, the movie takes an unexpected twist, entering into thriller territory that is influenced by Steven Spielberg's Duel. Dulquer is fabulous as the angry, young man, and he shares amazing chemistry with Sai Pallavi. Also, Chemban Vinod Jose makes for a formidable villain, a truck driven controlled by his hurt ego. Watch Kali on Disney+ Hotstar.

Kammatipaadam

Dulquer Salmaan in Kammatipaadam

Rajeev Ravi's sprawling crime drama sprawls over decades and sees the rise of Kochi, while criminal kingdoms rise and fall in the interim. The movie, taking a page out of Sergio Leone's Once Upon A Time in America, follows three friends from their childhood to being young criminals to their falling out, as they deal with love, death, betrayal and reconciliation. While Dulquer does good as the straighter man in the trio, Vinayakan and Manikandan R Achari are brilliant as his friends. Watch Kammatipaadam on Disney+ Hotstar.

CIA - Comrade in America

Dulquer Salmaan in CIA - Comrade in America

Watch the opening sequence of the film as Dulquer makes his entry to the beats of "Kerala Manninayi", and you can't deny this is one of the best massy intro scenes for a hero in recent times. In this Amal Neerad film, Dulquer plays a hot-headed Communist who has to go the States through illegal ways to be with his girlfriend there. While a decent thriller, if a bit overstretched, CIA does impress you with its ambitious turn and Dulquer's gallery-pleasing performance. Watch CIA - Comrade in America online on Netflix.

Solo

Dulquer Salmaan in Solo

Bejoy Nambiar's four-part anthology, based on Lord Shiva's moods, was shot simultaneously in both Tamil and Malayalam. In a couple of segments, there is even a change in the cast depending on the language. What's common in both the languages and in all the segments is Dulquer Salmaan. While Solo leaves you with mixed feelings - a couple of segments are decent, others just about okay -  what you can take away from the film is the range of DQ as an actor. Be it being a meek but vengeance-seeking doctor, a hot-headed collegian with a stammer, a silent gangster or a dashing soldier - Dulquer impresses in all the four roles. Watch Solo on Amazon Prime, MX Player and Jio Cinema.

Varane Avashyamund

Dulquer Salmaan in Varane Avashyamund

This Anoop Sathyan romantic comedy was produced by Dulquer Salmaan, though he takes a more supporting role in the film. While the spotlight is on the characters of Shobana, Suresh Gopi and Kalyani Priyadarshan, DQ is content playing their happy-go-lucky neighbour who has his own romantic struggles. But he scores towards the end of the film, where the movie unravels his character's tragic upbringing and making him more sympathetic. Watch Varane Avashyamund on Netflix.

Honourable Mention - Parava

Dulquer Salmaan in Parava

Actor Soubin Shahir's impressive directorial debut is set around the lives of people living in Mattancherry, and follows two teens who indulge in the activity of pigeon taming. Parava doesn't stick to a particular narrative, instead relying on the moments and the performances of its talented cast. There is also Dulquer in a very memorable cameo, who is very much likeable in his limited screentime and whose departure from the film is bound to break your hearts. You can watch Parava on Disney+ Hotstar.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 28, 2020 12:01 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).