How many times have we thought about who is the voice actor behind the TV or Radio Commercial, Animation or Film character we are listening to. Voice Artistes just don’t get the credit or recognition they truly deserve. Hira M. from Sugar Mediaz writes about every Indian Voice Artistes’ pain point. (With inputs from Darrpan Mehta)
One rarely hears about dubbing artistes, who despite remaining in the dark corners of the studio, bring to life all our loved characters with their voice. Nobody understands the effort that goes into doing justice to the character or actor that they are dubbing for. After all it is not just about reading out dialogues, it also requires a great amount of acting and emoting and sometimes even talking in a different language or voice.
Voice actors who are lucky to get more mainstream projects are often recognized but still not applauded for the work. Regardless of spending hours in the studio booth most of these voice actors are not only anonymous and unsung but also walking home with pittance. In films, it is the popularity and recognition that comes when the public recognizes an actor by his/her face unlike dubbing artists who are never brought to the fore or ever seen.
In Hollywood and Bollywood today top actors are dubbing for animated characters. These actors are applauded for the voices and are not ignored just because they haven’t acted in the film themselves. In fact, there is an entire marketing activity that goes with the territory for such actors. Voice actors on the other hand have been voicing animated characters for years and still standing in the shadows and are protesting this discrimination today. It must however be acknowledged that the celebrity voice which is well recognized by the public does in a way actually make a “star” out of the animated character voiced for by them.
Bollywood, Television or the Corporate world has rarely given proper credit to the invisible voice actors
The film Shamitabh, is like the life story of every invisible voice actor in which the voice of Amitabh Bachchan is used to bring to life the mute Dhanush and the friction that grows when Shamitabh realises that his voice is as big, if not bigger than the star. This is exactly what the voice actors are feeling and are looking for that honour by including their names in the credits. They want that the audiences know who dubbed for their superstars. They want people patting their backs and cheering their voices. They want their profession to get its due place under the sun.
In the recently released movie, Chaar Saahibzaade – Rise of Banda, a sequel to the movie ‘Chaar Saahibzaade‘, not only does the movie review not feature the Voice Cast of the movie, even the film on screen does not have any mention of the Voice Artistes in the end credits. When we tried to speak to the Voice Artistes who have lent their voices for the Characters in the movie, we were told that they had to sign a Non-Disclosure agreement with the Producers of the Movie hence they were not in a situation to even openly talk about this project!!
Bollywood should take a leaf out of the book of the South Indian film industry which actually has instituted state awards for films dubbed into the other southern languages.
The public today is quite aware that voice actors are sometimes voicing for their favourite stars. If the credits don’t actually name who did that performance, it can be quite difficult to figure it out and often comes down to wrong guesswork. Voice actors wish that public would appreciate the time they spend behind the mike bringing to life their favourite stars to give them a great experience.
Most of the times voice actors are not given due credit as it is feared that it would hamper the star’s career and may be even winning accolades.
However, not all production houses and stars are indifferent to those dubbing for them. John Abraham, for example, has openly credited the success of his early films to dubbing artiste Viraj Adhav who, at that time, had been the on screen Voice of John Abraham. But that is just one exception among many who prefer not to give credit to the voices dubbing for them. This kind of accolade is just one part of what voice actors are looking for. The other being that they want as a policy that end credits showcase their names for all the projects they voice for, just like those of stars lending their voices to animation films. Logically the end credits of a film maybe roll for a few minutes and it is felt that it would not be that much trouble to credit a voice actor. Besides considering that end credits acknowledge everyone right down to spot boys, how difficult would it be to put their names in the credits, is what voice actors are asking. Voice actors are unhappy at not being credited for their work, but then who is to blame? Maybe because there is no recognized platform to address the issue.
Voice actors are important, talented and skilled people who deserve as much recognition as any other actor if not more.