“I Never thought I would become a dubbing artiste. I used to accompany my mom (Anuradha) to studios and I was quite familiar with dubbing.
I first dubbed for Chaya Singh in 'Thiruda Thirudi', and then for Trisha in 'Abiyum Naanum', Charmi in 'Laadam', Nayanthara in 'Ayya' and Sandhya in 'Dishyum',” says Mahalakshmi. The dubbing industry has, in her opinion, become more competitive today with directors preferring fresh voices. “When you hear the pilot track, it invariably is very bad without proper lip sync.
Dubbing artistes give 60 per cent of life to characters.
It was challenging for me to dub for Padmapriya in 'Mirugam'. The character had three stages- before and after marriage and as mom to an eight-year-old kid. I had to do a lot of shouting and crying. If it’s a commercial film, heroine portions can be dubbed in half a day,” informs Mahalakshmi and the artiste hardly talks about dubbing for her mom. “My mom is very committed and she gives her 100 per cent,” says Mahalakshmi and adds, “Many heroines don’t even care to call and thanks us today. Only a few artistes actually keep it as a practise.” “These days, the audiences are smart and they can recognize even if you modulate your voice.
My recent film is 'Pasanga' and when I hear my voice I feel I have to improve because there’re lot more to learn,” says Mahalakshmi.
“Straight film dubbing was not that popular in those days and we used to dub only those portions that were not clear.
Then, a lot of films were dubbed into Tamil from Telugu,” says Anuradha, who started her career in dubbing in 1980s.
She fondly remembers the day when she went with her sister, a dubbing artiste, to studio. “Leela Mahadevan, wife of K V Mahadevan and Soundaravalli were well-known dubbing artistes in those days. When I went to the studio, everyone was waiting for Soundaravalli to dub for Jayaprada in 'Seetharama Vanavasam' (Telugu to Tamil). As Soundaravalli didn’t reach the venue due to some other work, the unit looked for some fresh voice and that’s how I got a chance to dub.
My first film in Tamil was 'Kanchi Kamakshi' and it was after that that I did 'Salangai Oli' for Jayaprada,” says the veteran dubbing artiste.
Anuradha has dubbed for almost all Ambika and Radha’s films. “It was my golden period as I dubbed for more number of films released in 1980- 1990. 'Rajaparvai', 'Alaigal Oiyavathilai', 'Sagalakala Vallavan', 'Kaakki Sattai', Balumahendra’s 'Moondram Pirai', 'Chinna Thambi' for Kushboo and many others,” she points out. “I dubbed for Silk Smitha in 'Moondram Pirai' and that gave me a good name. 'Raajaparvai' was the first film to use computer technology for dubbing,” says Anuradha, who speaks on how hard it was when dubbing artistes were not recognized. She was one among the three dubbing artistes to receive the first state award for dubbing artistes and the award was for 'Rojakootam'. “I have done more than 1,000 films and I now dub for character roles,” says the Kalaimamani awardee.
She was very young when she started dubbing and it was for English to Hindi cartoons. Born and raised in Bombay, it was easy for Deepa to dub in Hindi. She started getting offers to dub in Hindi movies and by the time she started dubbing for Devyani in 'Appu', Deepa established herself as a serial artiste as well.
“I dubbed for Sneha in 'Anandam', King, 'Yei Ne Romba Azhagairuka', Simran in 'Kannathil Muthamittal', 'Kovilpati Veeralakshmi', 'Ezhumalai' and 'Vaaranam Ayiram', Navya Nair in 'Azhagiya Theeyae', 'Paasa kiligal', 'Rasikum Seemanae', Jyothika in 123. Simran is very expressive and is also good at lip sync-ing. My voice also suits Navya Nair well,” says Deepa.
As both an actress and a dubbing artiste, Deepa speaks of the differences. “Dubbing is more difficult than acting. In dubbing, people concentrate only on their voice. Being an artiste, I understand the character even better. Actresses have begun concentrating on their dubbing as much as their makeup and costumes, only after the reviews published in the media. And thank them for that! Also, we are able to promote more talent today only because we have many talented dubbing artistes,” opines Deepa.
When you speak to Savitha over phone, you can’t help but wonder if the person on the other end of the line is Simran, as she has dubbed for the actress is most of her films.
This MBA graduate had an option between dubbing and advertising for a career. “I’m a creative person and decided I wanted to do dubbing. So, I first attended an audition for Shankar’s Jeans. But after the audition, I really wasn’t confident of making it through.
But it came as a pleasant surprise when the confirmation happened, and I proudly declared to my friends that I would be Aishwarya Rai’s voice,” recalls Savitha, who today is happy at being the best recognized voice of many of our heroines. After Jeans, Savitha dubbed for Simran in 'Vaali', Jyothika in 'Kushi'.
Interestingly, in 12B, Savitha spoke for both Simran and Jyothika.
“Vaali' gave me public recognition. I then won a State award for Priyamanavale,” informs Savitha. who has done more than 300 films. It’s not a surprise when she says she had a huge fan foll owing in school and college for her voice.
This dubbing artiste has rec e ived three Tamil Nadu State Awards and three Andhra State Awards
Remember the young voice ‘I love you Rasna’ in Rasna advertisement? Priya was only five years old when she did that jingle. My father Mohan was a dubbing artiste and my uncle Thayanban, music director, took me to the studio and I did that ad,” says the artiste. Priya later lent her voice for Mandira Bedi in the teleserial 'Shanthi'. “Initially, I did small roles. That’s how I got a chance in Suyamvaram in which I dubbed for Heera,” says Priya, who feels great about having worked with directors like Selvaraghavan, Fazil, Bharathi Raja, K Balachander, K S Ravikumar, Karu Pazhaniappan and Seeman. “I dubbed for Sonia in '7G Rainbow Colony', 'Madura', 'Pudupetai',” informs Priya, who has been Pooja’s voice in all her films so far, excepting Naan Kadavul, in which the actress dubbed for herself.
The dubbing artiste is also happy about her friendship with Pooja and Sonia. “They call me and we’re good friends. I feel great when I see my dubbing credit in theatres and it’s only now that dubbing artistes are being recognized,” feels Priya, who also dubbed for Mallika Sherawat in 'Dasavatharam.'