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Making the right noises: Bollywood actors dubbing for animated films

While their Hollywood counterparts do it with a lot of pride, actors are opening up to the idea of lending voice to animated characters

One of the reasons — other than big budget and use of latest technology — why Hollywood’s animation films click with global audiences is the fact that they usually have a known star cast lending voice to their characters. And although animation films are still at a nascent stage in India, more Bollywood actors are now willing to dub for films in this genre — be it an Indian or an international production. hitlist points out a few recent instances…

Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor
Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor

Film: 'Roadside Romeo' (2008)
Lowdown: Saif Ali Khan has lent his voice to the titular character in this animation venture. To add to this, the character of Laila, Romeo’s girlfriend, was voiced by Saif’s then-girlfriend-now-wife, Kareena Kapoor.

Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan

Film: 'The Incredibles' (2004)
Lowdown: With the Hindi version of this film, King Khan made his grand debut as a voiceover artiste. He voiced the character of Lajawab, who is the protagonist of the animation franchise. His decision to dub for this film then paved the way for other Bollywood actors to follow suit.

Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra

Film: 'Planes' (2013)
Lowdown: This Disney venture had a plane named Ishani and voicing the character was our very own Piggy Chops. It marked her debut as a voiceover artiste. Interestingly, she bagged this Hollywood project after the release of her single, Exotic.

Imran Khan and Sonakshi Sinha
Imran Khan and Sonakshi Sinha

Film: 'Rio 2' (2014)
Lowdown: The two couldn’t save last year’s film, Once Upon Ay Time in Mumbaai Dobara, from tanking at the box office. But both are now lending their voices to the Hindi version of this sequel. Imran and Sona are voicing the birdy characters, Blu and Jewel, respectively.

John Abraham
John Abraham

Film: 'Alibababa Aur 41 Chor'
Lowdown: Given the project’s scale of production, this upcoming animation film is supposed to signal a breakthrough in the industry. While not much is known about the cast, John is supposed to do the voiceover for the protagonist, Ali Baba.

Shreyas Talpade
Shreyas Talpade

Film: 'Dashavatar' (2008)
Lowdown: In this film that centres around the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Shreyas has lent his voice to the likeable character of Narad in this mythology fest. Till date, it’s the only Bollywood animation venture he has done a voiceover for.

A team effort

There are quite a few animation films in Bollywood where several actors have done voiceovers...

'Jumbo' (2008)
'Jumbo'

Star cast: Akshay Kumar, Lara Dutta, Rajpal Yadav, Dimple Kapadia, Gulshan Grover 
Lowdown: A host of Bollywood actors lent their voices for this R2 crore project. But their combined star didn’t save this animation venture from failing miserably at BO.

'Ramayana: The Epic' (2010)
'Ramayana: The Epic'

Star cast: Manoj Bajpai, Juhi Chawla, Ashutosh Rana
Lowdown: It took five years and about 500 professionals to make this film. After Roadside Romeo, this was India’s second animated feature film to be released by a Hollywood studio.

'Delhi Safari' (2012)
'Delhi Safari'

Star cast: Akshaye Khanna, Govinda, Suniel Shetty, Boman Irani, Urmila Matondkar
Lowdown: Not only did this Nikhil Advani-directed venture boast of some recognisable voices but it also offered cinegoers better quality animation. It did decently well at the BO.

'Mahabharat' (2014)
'Mahabharat'

Star cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Ajay Devgn, Vidya Balan, Sunny Deol, Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Manoj Bajpayee
Lowdown: Directed by Amaan Khan, this film marked Big B’s debut as a voiceover artiste; ditto for several other members of the cast. But it didn’t create more than a flutter at the box office.

'Koochie Koochie Hota Hai' (yet to release)
'Koochie Koochie Hota Hai'
Star cast: Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukerji, Salman Khan, Anupam Kher, Ritesh Deshmukh, Uday Chopra
Lowdown: As the title suggests, the story is a spinoff from the blockbuster, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. With Karan Johar at the helm, the film has a lot of big names involved in the project. But it’s yet to hit the marquee.

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