You may not have heard of dubbing artist Sekar, but you’ve definitely heard him. He’s dubbed in Tamil for stars like Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham. He’s also the voice of Shahid Kapoor in Padmavat, Vivek Oberoi in Vivegam, and Prabhas in Baahubali.
And now, he’s signed up to talk for Deadpool in the Tamil version of Deadpool 2, whose trailer has gone viral on social media. In a scene, Deadpool comes back home, looks at his girlfriend and says, “Vengai mavan othaila nikkaren.” Sekar laughs. He’s not new to the field.
“I’ve been dubbing even before the Dubbing Union came into existence,” says Sekar, who has also acted in ads, TV shows, plays, and films, including Yennai Arindhaal.
“Hollywood originally told us that we are not to change aspects of it and simply translate what’s spoken,” says Sekar. “But the whole point of dubbing is to make our audiences enjoy a film that they can relate to. Today, we make changes to the dialogue to give it a local twist and it’s been received really well.” The Tamil trailer of Deadpool 2 has got more than 1.2 million views on Facebook and close to 750,000 views on YouTube.
The possibilities, Sekar says, are endless when dubbing for films like Deadpool. “We can really take liberties in films like Deadpool and Pirates of the Carribean. I could never play with material when it comes to films like Dangal and Ben Hur.” Though he’s yet to see the film, Sekar says the English trailer is good enough for him to learn how to dub for its Tamil version. “What we do with the trailer plays a big role in bringing audiences to the theatre.” The team apparently came up with five versions for just the trailer. “The producers felt this was the most accurate and the least controversial,” says a laughing Sekar, who goes on to explain the process of dubbing.
“We see the entire film, and then, we try to figure out what we can add to the dialogues that tell the story. The main characters get their dialogues done first, and then, we focus on the counters,” says Sekar, who works with both his in-house team and vendors.
“Fox has vendors to whom the company hands over its films. These vendors decide on the content that goes into the local versions. Once we get the translation, we give them choices and they choose the apt ones before sending it back to Hollywood for sound mixing.”
What makes Deadpool 2 unique for him is that it is an R-rated film (A-certified).
“Goundamani sir katha kalakshepam panna rasikamatom, kalaicha thaan rasipom. That’s how a character like Deadpool is. We also know that kids won’t be watching such a film; so the humour is targetted at young adults,” says Sekar, who adds that there are a lot of nuances that a dubbing artiste has to focus on. “For instance, I added depth for the voice of Amarendra Baahubali.
I have to take the genre, the person’s body type, his characterisation, and many factors into consideration to decide how I should tweak my voice,” he says. “The voice modulation in the first frame has to be the same as in the last; otherwise, the scenes get ruined. Our audience is brilliant, and will easily figure out mistakes.”
The artistes apparently don’t have the luxury of working with the final cut of the film. “Hollywood is very serious about content security; so the film we get is usually in black and white. When a character is speaking, the faces of other actors are often blurred out.”
The same occurs with trailers too.
“In the trailer, where Deadpool chops a man’s head, we couldn’t see what was happening. We guessed it was a severed, rolling head and fortunately, got it right. Also, I can’t use lines like, ‘Dei, sevappu sattai’, because I have no idea what he’s actually wearing. All this ensures that the video cannot get pirated,” adds Sekar.
Dialogues may even be different in the actual film, says Sekar. “When Cable breaks the wall, I say, ‘Yen pa, antha pakkam gate irruke?’ But in the film, it could be different,” says Sekar.
But he realises that not everything can be localised. “We have to respect Deadpool’s characterisation. For example, in the scene where he jumps from a flight, he says, ‘Guys, ethuvum kizhiyaame iruntha marupadiyum santhippom.’ For the same situation, I could’ve said, ‘Guthichiduda kaipulle.’ But that would dilute his character. It’s a balance we have to maintain. At the end of the day, no one watching the film should say, ‘Aiyyo, keduthutaanga da.’”