Consumer group pitches for Bahubali2 in Kannada

Consumer group pitches for Bahubali2 in Kannada

A social media campaign for a Kannada version of Bahubali2 has reignited the dubbing debate. The sequel is due for release in April.

Legally, dubbing (replacing just the dialogue) is allowed, but an informal ban stops producers from dubbing films from other languages into Kannada.

#Bahubali2InKannada has been trending on Twitter for two days. The debate went viral after Kannada Grahakara Koota (Kannada Consumers’ Association) said film buffs should assert their right to watch the sequel to Bahubali in Kannada.

Launched on Thursday, the campaign began trending within a few minutes. Twitter users posted several arguments in favour of dubbing: many in the cast and crew are from Karnataka; Kannada is the only one of four southern languages to be left out; and Kannadiga consumers have a right to entertainment in their language.

With Prabhas in the lead, the movie stars Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Sudeep, Nasser, Sathyaraj and Ramya Krishnan, and is directed by S S Rajamouli, who traces his roots to Karnataka.

A tweeter (@mareguLi) said a little cousin had travelled 50 km to watch Bahubali and was disappointed he did not understand the language.

Not everyone is convinced about the campaign, though. Some suggested it was just a publicity stunt ahead of the release of the film in April.

Rakshith Ponnathpur said the producers were trying to show the movie was in demand. He tweeted: “We have moved past dubbing debates already!’’

Long-drawn battle

Kannada Grahakara Koota has been spearheading the demand for dubbing into Kannada. It had challenged the KFCC, which had spoken against dubbing. Eventually, the KFCC told the High Court it had nothing against dubbing.

K V Chandrashekar, exhibitor and former president of KFCC, said no dubbed films had been released in recent years, with the exception of Naanu Nanna Preeti, dubbed from the Hindi My Husband’s Wife. The informal ban on dubbing dates back several decades in Karnataka.

“Ours is a multi-lingual culture. People prefer to watch movies in their own languages. Dubbing makes business sense only if there is a ban on the release of films in other languages,’’ he argued.

Chandrashekar said dubbed Kannada films may find the going tough as even original Kannada movies were facing a shortage of halls.

Krishnegowda, who has floated a parallel Kannada Film Chamber of Commerce, said there was no legal hurdle to releasing dubbed films in Kannada.

The producers of Bahubali, however, are concerned about the impact of a dubbed version on distributors’ revenues, according to Krishnegowda.

“We have allayed these fears by asking them to give the dubbed Kannada version to the same distributors so that they can screen it in small towns where only Kannada is understood,” he said. 

Trade body tamed
The High Court has penalised the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) Rs 6 lakh and the Kannada Film Producers’ Association Rs 1.75 lakh for blocking dubbing into Kannada.

The KFCC and the producers have submitted they will not come in the way of dubbing, according to Krishnegowda, industry insider and champion of dubbed films.

Before Kannada Grahakara Koota, Reliance had also challenged the KFCC stand on dubbing.

On Friday, a clutch of Kannada organisations pressed Krishnegowda to withdraw his demand for an apology from Vatal Nagaraj, a well-known anti-dubbing campaigner.

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