Affects Hindi dubbing industry
Over the past couple of years, film industries across India are interacting much more than before. Films from the Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam industries are released in a “Pan Indian” format, reaching Hindi language markets as well. However, it is only recently that actors in Southern industries have chosen to dub Hindi themselves, instead of having a dubbing artist do the job. After dubbing in Hindi for ‘Saaho’, actor Prabhas dubbed in Hindi again for ‘Radhe Shyam’, while Telugu Jr NTR star dubbed in Hindi for the first time for filmmaker SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ .
Now here comes the question, if superstars are dubbing for their own part in the Hindi versions of their films and this trend is encouraged in times to come, where does that leave Hindi dubbing artists, whose only source revenue is to give a voice to Hindi versions of hit films from the South?
On average, a dubbing artist spends three to four days dubbing for a Southern star. Their fees depend on the size of an actor and the type of platform the film is released on. While many voice artists also act in projects, things have been tough for them, especially over the past couple of years as productions have stalled. At times like these, the only way for them to manage their household is to do voice acting for movies.
Mumbai-based dubbing director Sophia Vij, who has coordinated with various dubbing artists for the films, tells us, “Obviously this (Hindi dubbing artists) will be affected. A lot of films come to us from the South. A few artists from dubbing are also playing but there isn’t much for them at the moment. There are so many good artists sitting and earning through dubbing. Our efforts will always be to find more work for dubbing artists.
Acclaimed dubbing artist Sanket Mhatre, best known for lending his voice to the films of Telugu superstar Allu Arjun, sheds light on key aspects of the growth of the Hindi dubbing industry.
“It’s always been a movie studio’s decision as to who should voice which character. There are several movies where voiceovers are replaced by celebrities as part of a marketing call and they expect to win more money if a celebrity face is attached. My take on this is that honestly the voiceover industry especially the Hindi dubbing industry is at a very nascent stage in India.. There are many senior voiceover artists, directors and writers who have worked over the years to create this foundation where it has now become financially viable… So I find it quite unfair that an industry, which has struggled for decades to reach a global standard in terms of delivery quality, either just replaced by a certain celebrity. the corresponding voice but just the name of that one. I always repeat, replace a voice with a voice. It doesn’t matter if the voice belongs to a tailor or n anyone, but as long as it matches the voice of the character, then go for it. That’s what champ is about, but don’t replace the voice with the face.”
Films from southern industries are getting a big response on their Hindi satellite dubbed versions, making the face of a well-known actor in Hindi-speaking territories. It is the hard work of these dubbing artists that must be taken into account.
“It’s just these great movies that these actors try to make themselves, because the dubbing industry has made these actors popular, with so much work from artists and actors becoming a household thing with people who watch it online, on YouTube. It’s because of that, that these actors are risking a release in India. It’s almost as if all these dubbing artists have worked over the years so that someone like for example an Allu Arjun become a household name in the North and now he can stand on those shoulders and release his movie in the cinema I am speaking in terms of all the actors, for whom these dubbing artists have worked in Hindi to make a name known, to such a degree that they can offer them a theatrical release,” says Mhatre.
Telugu star Rana Daggubati was last seen in the trilingual movie ‘Aranya’ which was called ‘Kaadan’ in Tamil and ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’ in Hindi. Instead of hiring a dubbing artist, the actor dubbed for Tamil and Hindi on his own.
— Rana Daggubati (@RanaDaggubati) February 14, 2021
Known for providing voiceover for Prabhas’ Hindi films, Abhishek Singh, who also dubbed for Karthikeyan Gummakonda in ‘Rx 100’, believes that audiences often catch the difference in films when the dubbing is done by an actor from the South and does not connect with a movie at the subconscious level.
“If artists from the South are dubbing in Hindi, their tone is inevitable. You can’t change that. When Hindi audiences see it, they subconsciously notice it and don’t accept it. When we perform dialogue, we generate a feeling When actors from the south do that, they miss that feeling and the audience can’t tune in. No doubt they give beautiful expressions but when they speak in Hindi, they often miss some emotion and that is always noticeable. .such a big movie but Hindi audiences couldn’t accept it because they couldn’t build that attachment, whereas ‘Pushpa’, ‘KGF’ or ‘Jai Bhim’ were dubbed and audiences loved it.”
While the Pan-India phenomenon has prominent actors dubbing in Hindi all by themselves, the success of Southern films has encouraged a new trend. Following the recent success of ‘Pushpa: The Rise’, Allu Arjun’s 2019 Telugu blockbuster ‘Ala Vaikunthapuramuloo’ will also be released in Hindi, while Ram Charan’s 2018 film ‘Rangasthalam’ will also be released in Hindi.
Does this mean more work for Hindi dubbing artists?
Dubbing artist Mayur Vyas, who is known for lending his voice to superstar Rajinikanth and has dubbed several artists like Vijay Sethupathi, Vijay Deverakonda, Aadi among others, says, “In a way it’s good because that the amount of work is increasing but unfortunately, while the new films have very good budgets to pay and the old films, which will now be released in Hindi, will go via satellite or OTT and therefore despite having a good budget, the production houses or the agencies that do the dubbing will not give the same budget to the dubbers. So, like that, we have work but not at a fair price. It’s a plus and a minus. If there’s a theatrical release of a new movie, the dubber can really demand but if an old movie comes out in Hindi, it doesn’t really affect the dubbing artist’s income.”