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‘Dubbing as an art has evolved but budgets have gone down’: 'Baahubali' VO artist Ganesh Divekar I Exclusive

Updated on: 09 June,2024 11:11 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Athulya Nambiar |

Voice over artists Ganesh Divekar and Sanket Mhatre speak about the challenges of being a dubbing artist and how the art has evolved over the years

‘Dubbing as an art has evolved but budgets have gone down’: 'Baahubali' VO artist Ganesh Divekar I Exclusive

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‘Dubbing as an art has evolved but budgets have gone down’: 'Baahubali' VO artist Ganesh Divekar I Exclusive

The dubbing industry has grown by leaps and bounds in the recent years thanks to the trend of pan-India visual content. With globalisation of content, filmmakers are investing in quality dubs to reach a larger audience and attract non-native speakers. While the technical side of dubbing has improved, there are inequalities in terms of compensation and voice casting. Earlier there was a dearth of voicing artists. Dubbing used to be thought of as a profession for people who don't make it good in acting. That was the scenario 10-15 years back. But since then there has been an evolution in dubbing. Today, dubbing artists have now become idols for people.  Earlier, everybody wanted to be Amitabh Bachchan. Now the scenario has changed," says voice actor Ganesh Divekar, who is the Marathi voice of Bhallaladeva in Disney+Hotstar's animated series 'Baahubali: Crown of Blood'. 

Quality dubbing a priority:

"Just like any other craft, the more you keep working at it, the more it evolves, the more you get better at it. It's the same with dubbing," says Sanket Mhatre who has voiced for Baahubali in the Marathi version of 'Baahubali: Crown of Blood'. 

He continues, "Dubbing is a nascent craft in India because 'Jurassic Park' is the first film that got dubbed from English to Hindi. So it's not that old a craft. There have been dubbed projects that have been happening before that.  If you compare Jurassic Park with the latest Jurassic you will understand the amount of evolution that dubbing has gone through in terms of tech, direction, engineering, mixing, writing and how natural voice artists perform a particular project. Now when you watch dubbed South Indian films they are no longer the melodramatic loud performances that you would once associate them with. The writers have started writing it according to that and the actors are directed in a way that the performances are even more natural."

"So it seems like the original cast is voicing for it in Hindi and you believe that this is a Hindi film and not a dub project. And it's only going to keep getting better. We even dubbed Rajamouli Sir's project 'RRR' in English for Netflix. So people abroad were watching the English language dub with Indian voice artists. It has come to that level where our work is going international," he added.

Sanket Mhatre

'Celebrity voices paid more than trained voice over artists':

With the rise in dubbed content, the profession has also seen a boost in people opting for this as a career path. "There is a lot of choice for voices when casting for different characters today," says Ganesh Divekar. However, he also highlighted the unfair budgeting practices in the dubbing industry.

"When it comes to celebrity's dubbing for films, the producers have all kind of budgets," he stresses. The artist said that he or Sanket Mhatre who have been in the profession for years will not get the same amount of compensation that a celebrity would get. "What is happening is that dubbing as an art has evolved, but the budgets have gone down. So there is an upside to it and there is also a flip side to it. 

"Since there is a plethora of artists available, the budgets have gone down. Sanket and I are not heard regularly for the simple reason they cannot afford us. When dubbing for a particular project, celebrities are paid very well. But when the dubbing artist is cast for the (same) project, they are supposed to adjust according to the budget of the film. But the moment a production house requires a celebrity to voice for a character, the price of the film goes up.  Barring a few actors, the voices are not that recognizable," he added. 

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