Sharad Kelkar: People started saying, ‘After Amitabh Bachchan there is a second voice…’ I Exclusive

12 June,2024 11:24 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Athulya Nambiar

Sharad Kelkar is well known as the voice of Baahubali. Talking to, he revisits dubbing for SS Rajamouli`s magnum opus, comparisons with Amitabh Bachchan and the dubbing industry

Sharad Kelkar

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Almost a decade ago, SS Rajamouli's 'Baahubali' hit the screens. The Telugu language film which had a marketing budget of zero , slowly became the biggest film the country had seen. The film portrayed the power of good cinema and the strength of content. Such was its popularity that every person associated with the project, just like the film, achieved pan-India status. Actor Sharad Kelkar who voiced the character played by Prabhas in Hindi also became popular for his work that allowed the cinema to reach in the Northern belt among Hindi speakers.

Getting into the world of Baahubali:

Talking to, Sharad Kelkar revealed that it was not until a year after the release of 'Baahubali: The Beginning' that people realised that it was he who voiced the power-packed character of 'Baahubali'. "The genre is completely different, the imagination is completely different, and Rajamouli executes to the T," Kelkar said praising SS Rajamouli.

Recalling dubbing for the film, Kelkar further said, "The first copy which came to me, it was without VFX. It was just basic chroma shoot and I felt this is going to look something else but I didn't know that it will become a rage or it will become so big while dubbing for it. When you start dubbing it, day by day you get a new version of the visuals".

While Kelkar realised that scale of animation, VFX were much higher than Rajamouli's previous films like 'Magadheera' and 'Makkhi', he never imagined it to be as big it eventually became. "Also people were also not aware that I was dubbing for it. After six-seven months, there were talks among audience that I have dubbed for the film but it was only a year later people realised that I had dubbed for Baahubali's role."

But when people got to know that he dubbed for Baahubali, he was surrounded by the biggest question back then ‘Kattapa ne Baahubali ko kyu maara?'. But the actor kept mum and waited for second part to do its magic. "For any actor, a 500 crore film in their kitty is a great big achievement, and I think the world changed for me. I have never said it on mic but, you know we all worship Mr. Amitabh Bachchan as an actor with a brilliant voice. And when people start talking about you that, ‘After Mr. Bachchan in India, there is a second voice which is Sharad Kelkar. So, I think it's the biggest achievement for any actor to come below Mr. Bachchan and come close to him a little bit."

'Budget for dubbing is a joke'

Sharad Kelkar, over the years, has done voice acting for several projects. The actor feels that the dubbing quality in India needs to improve as that will help movies reach a wider audience. "Mediocrity is very high in terms of voice acting. People don't pay attention towards it. If you see, whatever films made big, whether it's Baahubali, Pushpa, KGF or Salaar, I think all the actors who have dubbed for it have done their job to the T. And that's why the film sounds so good. If you want to win the race, you have to be close to perfection. "

he added, "The dubbing industry is not getting the due it should get. That's what I feel. All the big films which comes to India, earns somewhere around Rs 30-35 crores in Hindi. If I tell you the dubbing amount that the producer gets for the film you will laugh at me. You will think I am joking. They spend peanuts on the quality. With good quality dub, I think from Rs 35 crore they can jump to Rs 100 crores in India."

"A good dub film has done wonders. I don't know why they don't do it. It makes or breaks it. The voice is who we connect to," he concluded.

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