They are the voices behind the many faces of the film industry. Many a time, it is they, who actually make or break an actor’s image on screen. Be it a cough, a sneeze or just a murmur, they are always there to fill in the minute details of a film.
Dubbing artistes are a crucial part of any movie and though unseen to the audience’s eye, they do leave a mark by providing their voice to a character.
With irregular timings, professional training and the huge factor of luck going into their career, dubbing artistes share many similarities with an actor, except of course, the glamour factor.
Challenging it is, but at the same time, they say it is as satisfying as acting.
Deepa calls dubbing a full-time career by itself. Having been a child artiste and a character artiste, acting was not a new field for Deepa. Her break came when director Dinesh wanted a new voice for Ramya’s character in Abhi. “When he approached me, I took it up as a challenge and the rest is history,” says Deepa, who has since then, dubbed for Pooja Gandhi, Shubha Punja, Ramya and Jennifer Kotwal.
It is very likely to get typecast even in this field. But of late, the trend has changed and directors are ready to experiment with different dubbing artistes for the same actor.
“For a long time, I was dubbing for just Radhika, but of late, I have been chosen to dub for Ramya and more recently, Bianca Desai. A lot depends on the director of the film,” says Keerthi, who has been dubbing for heroines for nine years.
While many of them play character roles on-screen, there are a few who have managed to launch themselves in a leading role. For example, Sai Kumar started his career at an early age as a child dubbing artist and later on, became an actor and a television host.
But what really saddens many is the lack of importance given to dubbing in the film. “Very few film-makers know the importance of dubbing in the film. One needs enough time to get the right kind of emotion and lip sync but very rarely do they dedicate time for the dubbing artiste,” says actor-cum-director Harish Raj, who has dubbed for actors like Dyaan, Anirrudh, Dino Morea and others.
Along with voice modulation, giving the right kind of emotions are some of the challenging parts of the job. Deepa goes on to explain that it becomes easier when the actress is present while dubbing. “Then again, not many actresses are interested to see how it works. So far only one or two of them have actually come to the studio and spoken to me and explained what they were going through while the scene was being shot,” she adds.
When it comes to payment, most are tight-lipped as like acting, dubbing is not a regular salaried job.
But Harish explains that while actors get in terms of lakhs, dubbing artistes are still paid in thousands. “This is for an entire project not by the hour,” he says while adding, “But many make it up while lending their voices for advertisements which pay by the hour.”
Nevertheless, there is a flip side to this tiny and growing family of artistes, who are happy that the field is slowly becoming more professional and organised.