This is How South-Indian Films are Dubbed in Hindi

Meet the people who work behind the scenes for dubbing south-Indian films into Hindi.

4 min read

So, which are the top 3 highest-grossing Hindi films of all time?

You’ll be surprised to know that only one among the top 3 is an original Hindi film, but even that's in the third position. The first and second are South Indian movies dubbed into Hindi – Bahubali: The Conclusion and KGF Chapter 2. Bahubali is a Telugu film while KGF is originally in Kannada.

'Bahubali', 'KGF' and 'Dangal' are the top all-time Grossing Hindi Films. 

(Graphics: Puneet Bhatia)

"All of the stories that worked in the North, the dubbed versions, worked because of their stories and the emotion behind the films. The emotion has remained universal through all these."
Prashanth Neel, Director, KGF Chapter 1 & 2
"So, a lot of people tell me that dubbed films do really well when they cater to the masses. That’s proved wrong when films like Jai Bhim, Soorarai Pottru, or The Great Indian Kitchen come in.
Sanket Mhatre, Voice-Over Artist

Sanket Mhatre has voiced for multiple films of Allu Arjun.

(Photo: The Quint)

Sanket is the voice of Suriya in the critically acclaimed Jai Bhim. But unofficially, he’s also popular as the voice of Allu Arjun. It is voice over artists like him and dubbing directors like Sanjay Upadhyay who have played a critical role in making dubbed cinema so popular across India. Dubbing today is nothing like what it used to be half a decade back. Bahubali: The Beginning was the true game-changer.

"Now before the script even comes to us, it’s already been refined. There may have been iterations that have gone into that. So, voice actors are getting really good scripts. Probably a couple of years earlier, or a decade earlier, that would not have been the case. It would be something that was probably been translated by somebody who knew the original language really well but not Hindi. Then there would have been grammatical errors and the dubbing director and actor would end up fixing them while they are dubbing."
Sanket Mhatre, Voice-Over Artist

Sanjay Upadhyay is the dubbing director of Bahubali.

(Photo: The Quint)

"We mostly concentrate on the performance and emotions of the artists. It doesn’t matter which language a person is speaking in, emotions are always the same. For me, the most challenging thing is to fit the dialogue in Hindi in the exact number of words as in the original language. And when we translate it to Hindi, it should not sound like a translation."
Sanjay Upadhyay, Dubbing Director

The pan-India popularity of south-Indian cinema was particularly accelerated with the advent of cheap internet data in India. This further saw a huge boost during the lockdown.

Mayur Vyas is the official voice of Rajinikanth. 

(Photo: The Quint)

"YouTube channels like Goldmines have played a very important role in popularising South cinema and making it a household name. Credit should also go to the owner of Goldmine, Manish Shah. There are a few very average South movies but he takes them, re-edits them, and dubs them. He transforms them into really nice funny and blockbuster cinema."
Mayur Vyas, Voice-Over Artist
"I feel during the lockdown, OTT platforms played a very big part in making the South Indian content more national because a lot of people gained access to watching good South Indian films on the OTT."
Sanket Mhatre, Voice-Over Artist

Such has been the impact of dubbed south-Indian films over the last six months, that Bollywood films just couldn’t compete with them at the box-office. Pushpa was a bigger hit than 83 while Tiger Shroff’s Heropanti 2 and Ajay Devgn’s Runway 34 just didn’t stand a change against K.G.F Chapter 2. So what is it that Bollywood is getting wrong ?

Ram Charan Teja and NTR Jr have emerged as pan-India stars. 

(Photo: Rohit Khilnani)

"RRR had two 'new' heroes. I say new heroes because they were new for the Hindi film audience, Jr NTR and Ramcharan. For these two 'new' heroes, to come and do a business of more than 200 crores, speaks volumes for the content. In our industry, Bollywood producers started lending too much importance to stars at the cost of content. South producers also attach a lot of significance to their stars but not at the cost of content."
Komal Nahta, Trade Analyst

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Topics:  South India   RRR   South India films 

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