Voice dubbing, for the average Malayali, has for long been synonymous with Bhagyalakshmi. It cannot then be called coincidental that the first-ever audio version of a book in Malayalam is being brought out by the mistress of vocal alchemy, along with her autobiography ‘Swarabhedangal’. A 25-minute excerpt from the CD will be played out during the release of the book to be held in the city on Sunday.
“These days, people have little time for reading. There may also be others who are not able to read Malayalam. I hope the audio will help in taking the book to those segments of the public as well,” says Bhagyalakshmi.
The book is as much about her career and a documentation of the art of dubbing in Malayalam film industry as it is an account of her personal life, says Bhagyalakshmi. The book begins by reminding about how the history of dubbing in Malayalam has never been documented.
“The firsts in most aspects of Malayalam cinema are known to the world. The names of the pioneers have been accounted for in one way or the other. But this is hardly the case when it comes to dubbing. No authentic information is available regarding the beginnings of the art in our industry. So I have incorporated a sizable amount of such details. I believe that anyone who wants to research or do a more exhaustive documentation will find the book helpful.”
The first known artiste to dub for a Malayalam film, Kochin Ammini, will be introduced to the audience at the release function. ‘’She was just about 15 years old at that time and cannot remember which movie was it that she worked for. It is believed that she gave her voice for B S Saroja in 1950,” says Bhagyalakshmi.
Bhagyalakshmi had written about her past and the childhood years spent in an orphanage in a Malayalam publication a few years ago, the overwhelming response to which set her thinking about penning the book. “Only a handful of my close friends were aware of that part of my life and almost all of them had advised me to keep it to myself. They feared that it will harm my standing in society. But somewhere around middle age, I realised that if revealing my past would incur me loss in terms of relationships or respectability, then such things are not worth holding on to. The process of writing, though, was a tumultuous experience. After putting it down on paper, I often felt that I had found peace with many experiences in life.”
She remembers that her sons were extremely supportive and were the first to suggest that a narration in her own voice would be moving. “Later, when I read it out to my friends, they too felt that my reading imparted more life to the passages. But it was finally at the behest of the publishers that the audio CD was included,” she says.
An excerpt from the CD would be played at the release of the book on Sunday at the DC International Book Fair. The full version of the audio would soon be made available in shops.