is best," said Edward Said. It seems Indian broadcasters have taken a cue
from Said and are ready to experiment heavily with international content in 2008.
One Media and Entertainment Ltd, for instance, is taking the bold step of launching
an entertainment channel that will fill entirely with dubbed international content.
Its logic: "40 per cent of the TV viewing population continuously watch dubbed
is set to launch on 25 February, importing content from across the world -Germany,
France, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Israel.
is not alone in this experimentation. UTV has also put a high dose of dubbed content
on its youth-centric Hindi entertainment channel Bindass.
Bindass GM acqusition Manasi Sapre, "Dubbed entertainment has emerged as
a strong alternative to live action productions in the past few years. It allows
audience to sample international content of great quality in language they understand
has research to back this up. A recent research "Understanding the Psyche
of Hindi Serial Viewers," done by Starcom India and Hansa Research, reveals
that 2/5th of viewers of Star Plus and Zee TV find Hindi soaps repetitive and
more, 64 per cent of TV viewing audience prefer dubbed content as it provides
a diverse palette of soaps and dramas.
A whopping 69 per cent think that
dubbed shows are very entertaining, while 70 per cent think that it is an opportunity
to watch more actors. And 72 per cent watch it because it teaches a lot about
the cultures of other countries.
Indians still lap up localised content, some observers believe that a viewership
is surfacing for pure global content dubbed in Hindi.
reason for the mushrooming of international dubbed content in the TV space is
its easy and low-cost model as compared to full-fledged production of shows.
Mediaz director Darrpan Mehta, who himself is a voiceover and dubbing artist,
says, "It is a wonderful low-cost model. For example, acquiring a show from
various parts of the world and putting it up as a dubbed content is very cheap
vis-à-vis producing the entire show. Production of a show costs lakhs,
but a 30-minute dubbed content will cost around Rs 50,000."
this: UTV's Bindass has four original shows - Hassley India, Shakira,
Sun Yaar Chill Maar and Third Degree, while it has around six dubbed
international shows which include The Benny Hill Show, Japanese Pro Wrestling
Show, Gotcha, Motorrad Cops, Whacked Out Sports and Challenges of Fire.
flanking Hindi GECs Zee Next and Sab TV have a portion, however small, of international
Zee Next has two dubbed shows Fresh Prince of Bel-air and Different
Strokes while Sab TV has a slot called International Chaska that features
its internationally acquired shows dubbed in Hindi. The channel is currently showing
America's Funniest Home Videos and will be airing Desperate Housewives,
Extreme Makeover, Lost and Alias in Hindi.
new channel launches and more such channels in the wings, there is a huge dearth
and a consequent need of good content which can work in India. With the floodgates
opening for the dubbing industry, there is a rush for these post-production houses,
dubbing artists and script-writers.
the dubbing industry is still at its nascent stage, it is a growing market.
Sapre, "For television, the dubbing content market is pegged at Rs 150 to
200 million. But it is growing, considering the tremendous potential of this form
the last five years, the dubbed content market has grown 10 to 15 per cent per
annum, and is expected to grow further. Entertainment (TV and film) has reached
new territories and all this has been due to dubbing. For example, without being
dubbed in Bhojpuri, Spiderman would have never reached that part of India."
of the US, India is one of the largest markets Disney has invested in for local
production. In addition, Disney Channel and Jetix have over 6,000 episodes of
dubbed content (three languages included). Disney Channel India has close to 25
per cent local content on-air today.
International Television works closely with Indian broadcasters to provide dubbed
content in local languages that appeal to local audiences.
has inked deals with major content providers like Mexico-based Tellewise, Germany-based
Seven One and France-based Marathon. Other providers include Dou Media and Telemundo,
which is a US company that will offer content in Spanish. In addition, the channel
has tied up with Brazil-based Globosat for Pages of Life and America.
the dubbing and the post-production work, the channel has roped in Mumbai-based
dubbing department has long-term exclusive associations with channels like Hungama,
National Geographic Channel, History Channel, Bindass, Bindass Movies, Nick and
Disney. It does more than 1,000 hours of dubbing every year.
general perception percolating is that dubbed content is nothing but "Angrezi
Hindi" or "Anglicized Hindi." Viewers identify dubbed content only
with the tele-brands that sell peculiar products in a peculiar language.
Mehta, "We are on the way to becoming a mega industry. It is a dichotomy
actually; it is a booming period for volumes, but there is no focus yet on quality.
If I see it from an entrepreneur's point of view, it is a big business opportunity
for a huge market coming up."
content is no longer looked down upon. It is important not to just translate but
to localise fully, using the nuances of the local language and get the soul of
the content correct. Not only viewers, but also international licencors are extremely
happy with the treatment we have accorded to their classic shows and blockbusters
Mehta: "Earlier, there used to be a verbatim translation, which really took
its toll on the quality of the content. But now it is transcreated so as to do
justice to the ethos of the language, culture and sensibility."
from TV production houses is a big obstacle though. Says Mehta, "Since the
production houses which do dubbing always go for cost cutting, they do not place
high value on a premium artist. As a whole, they compromise on the voice quality.
lead dubbing artist in a full-length film can earn anywhere between Rs 30-35,000
to Rs 300,000, depending on the amount of work he gets to do. For animated series
on kids' channels, a character gets around Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per episode.
for a theatrical release, the dubbing production houses use a premium voice but
for the home video and satellite screening, a low-cost dubbing artist is used
to cut costs.
All the films are re-dubbed for TV release and the home video
dubbed content work only for thriller and action genre shows?
Clapstem Productions promoter Girish Malik, who is also a creative consultant
of Firangi: "Not really. It used to be so. Actually nobody has tried drama.
Shows of countries which have the same sensibility like ours have not been dubbed
in India. Firangi will bring diverse stories from different countries like Israel,
Latin America, Germany and Argentina to India."
believes Firangi's model will succeed. "It is in the Indian mentality to
be curious to know what is happening outside one's house. This very interest will
drive viewers to see Firangi's dubbed content. On the subconscious level, it is
a voyeuristic pleasure that many Indians have."
what about the "sex and nudity" scenes commonly found in international
Firangi business head Rajeev Chakrabarti: "We are completely aware of the
sensibility and ethos of India. We at Firangi do not just translate and lip-sync
for the characters. With the exception of shooting, we do the entire post-production
work, which involves scrutinising sex and nudity."
artists in India believe that though dubbed content is cheap in India, the scene
will change once broadcasters give them licencing rights.
an artist lends his voice for any show in India, the broadcaster can use the voice
for an infinite number of times. But it is not so in countries abroad. Even the
India Copy Right Act 1952 guarantees copyright to any individual voice artist.
Voice artists do not get any royalty in India unlike other countries," says
is only in the advertising industry that voice artists get royalty each time the
voice is used. Dubbing artists are paid a flat fee and get no access to royalty.