TNIE tracks some amazing dubbing artists who have given life and soul to many popular film characters with their ‘voice art’   
Published: 28th October 2022 06:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th October 2022 06:40 AM   |  A+A-
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KOCHI: Remember Baby Shamili’s heart-melting dialogues in the 1991 film Pookkalam Varavai? Well, all that cuteness was courtesy Sreeja Ravi, who is into her 48 year as a dubbing artist.  

Sreeja’s sweet, cheery voice continues to stay fresh and endearing even at the age of 57. The Kannur native has, so far, lent her voice to over 125 actresses in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali and Hindi. 
She has dubbed for Nayanthara and Kavya Madhavan in many films, and has bagged four Kerala State Film Awards and two critics’ awards, and one Tamil Nadu State Film Award.  Dubbing artists, she says, are genuine performers like any other artists. They leave an imprint with their style and signatures through voice art, she adds. 
“I believe that each dubbing artist should be seen as a performer who does their art in front of the mic,” says Sreeja. “He or she should understand the character inside-out in order to deliver the dialogues with the intended impact. To emote the character’s feelings through words, and convey that correctly to the audience is, indeed, a challenging art.” 
Recalling her favourite roles, Sreeja, whose daughter Raveena is also following her footsteps, says dubbing for actress Sridevi in the 2017 film MOM would be the “most memorable moment”. 
“However, my favourite would be Shalini’s character Sona in the film Niram, as the character had 65 scenes and it involved a mix of emotions,” she says. 
Highlights: Baby Shamili in Malootty, Pookkalam Varavayi; Kavya Madhavan in Thenkassipattanam, Darling Darling, Dosth, Meesha Madhavan, Thilakkam, Runway, Classmates, Kochi Rajavu; Parvathy in Adharvam, Pradeshika Varthakal, Peruvannapurathe Visheshangal; Maathu in Amaram, Sandhesham, Oru Abhibhashakante Case Diary; Manju Warrier in Sallapam; Divya Unni in Varnapakittu, Kadhanayakan, Ustad, Friends, Akasha Ganga, Pranayavarnangal ;Shalini in Aniyathi Pravu, Niram, Alaipayuthey (Malayalam), Juhi Chawla in Harikrishnans, Bhavana in CID Moosa, Naran, Marykkondoru Kunjadu;  Nayanthara in Manasinakkare, Vismayathumbathu, Rappakal, Natturajavu; Meera Vasudev in Thanmathra
Salaam, Rocky bhai!
Dubbing director and artist Arun C M started off his voice career in 2006 by giving life to actor Suresh Gopi’s character in Aswaroodan. From there, he has come a long way and has lent his voice to Yash’s Rocky bhai in KGF, NTR Jr in RRR, and Vikram’s Aditha Karikalan in Ponniyin Selvan. 
Arun believes dubbed versions of films in other regional languages started gaining traction with Allu Arjun’s Arya in 2004. A lot of attention to details must be ensured for dubbing to be effective, he says. 
“For example, showing Hyderabad airport on the screen and conversing about Kochi airport would look ridiculous,” adds Arun. 
“In Ponniyin Selvan (Malayalam), we used Tamil words such as nanban and ilavarasi, so as to not lose the feel of the dialogues.” 
Discussing with actor Vikram before dubbing, Arun says, was a learning experience. “I got to know the layers of a character, and a new perspective on delivering dialogues, subtle expressions and pauses.”
Highlights: Yash in KGF,  Prabhas in Baahubali, NTR Jr in RRR, Nani in Eecha, Vikram in Ponniyin Selvan, Vijay Sethupathi in Beast,  Dulquer Salmaan in Hey! Sinamika
Immortalising Anil Nedumangad’s voice
For Mahesh Kunjumon, it was a dream to meet and mimic the voice of the late actor Anil Nedumangad in front of him. Seeing Mahesh’s viral mimicry performance in a popular television show in 2018, Anil send a congratulatory message and expressed his wish to meet his aparan. 
Anil’s untimely demise in a water accident left Mahesh shattered. And fate made him dub his favourite actor’s voice for the film Cold Case. 
Mahesh made a mark dubbing for Vijay Sethupathi in the remake of the Tamil film Master. The Ernakulam-based artist, however, made a big bang with the Malayalam version of Kamal Haasan’s Vikram — in which he dubbed for seven characters!
“I am glad that people recognise me with the voices I imitate,” he says. “Most people connect me with Anil Nedumangad. I dubbed for him in the new Nivin Pauly film Padavettu, and for the upcoming Indrajit Sukumaran film Anuradha Crime No. 59/2019. I am elated to play role in keeping him alive on screen.” 
That’s not it, Mahesh dubs for Malayalam versions of foreign films, too, the latest being Thor: Love and Thunder.
Highlights:  Anil Nedumangad in Cold Case; dubbing for Kamal Hassan (some portions), Vijay Sethupathi, Suriya, Fahaad Fassil, Chemban Vinod, Aruldoss, and Arjun Das in the film Vikram.  
The Mallu Allu
He is a director, ad filmmaker, lyricist, and dubbing artist. Taking a look back at his 20-year career as dubbing director and artist, Jis Joy says he cherishes dubbing for Allu Arjun’s Arya in 2004 the most. Thereon, he has been an Allu specialist, and the latest feather in his crown was Pushpa. 
“I have met Allu Arjun several times when he flew down for his film promotions,” says Jis. “He respects the Malayalam language and our actors.” 
Jis says there have been times when customer care executives have recognised his voice over the phone as ‘the guy who dubs for Allu Arjun’. “I have had similar experiences while going shopping, too, ” he says.  
Highlights: Allu Arjun in Gangotri, Arya1 and 2, Bunny, Happy, Vedam, Badrinath, S/o Sathyamurthy, Duvvada Jagannadham, Naa Peru Surya, Naa Illu India, Pushpa: The Rise  
Meena to Aishwarya Rai 
Thiruvananthapuram-based Devi S started her career as a child actress through television, and later emerged as a ‘leading voice’ in films as well as tele-serials. 
She has dubbed for Kamalinee Mukherjee in Pulimurugan, Meena in Drishyam and Katha Parayumbol, and Gopika in Veruthe Alla Bharya. Her most recent one was for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Ponniyin Selvan. 
Devi says she feels elated when people she meets ask her to deliver popular dialogues. “Many love to hear Myna’s ‘elimurugan’ dialogue. I feel my voice is a blessing,” she adds.
Devi, who is also an A-grade artist at All India Radio, says the most moving feedback have been from visually impaired people.  “For those who are not able to see, we dubbing artists are the heroes,” she adds. “Some reach out and convey that they pray for us. That is like a blessing for an artist.”
In a career spanning 30 years, Devi has also given voice to lead roles in many popular tele-serials such as Kudumbavilakku, Amma Ariyathe, Santhwanam, Padatha Painkili, Manam Pole Mangalyam, Daya, Kaliveedu, and Kanakanmani. 
On challenges, she rues that she can’t relish her favourite ice creams. “After having two-three spoons, I quickly drink hot water as a remedy,” she laughs.
Highlights: Bhavana in Happy Husbands, Genelia D’souza in Urumi, Meena in  Drishyam 1 and 2, Kaniha in Kerala Varma Pzhashi Raja and My Big Father, Bhumika Chawla in Bhramaram, Priyamani in Puthiya Mukham, Meghna Raj in Beautiful, Kamalinee Mukherjee in Pulimurugan, Nayathara in Iru Mugan, Arram, Kolamavu Kokila, Airaa, Lakshmi Gopalaswami in Kambhoji, Trisha Krishnan in 96 
Mammukka’s Tamil voice
Shobi Thilakan has been a dubbing artist for 25 years. He is also a popular supporting actor in tele-serials and films. 
Son of legendary actor Thilakan, Shobi has lent his voice to  Ram Charan in RRR, Sarathkumar in Pazhassiraja and Ponniyin Selvan, and Rana Daggubati in Baahubali. 
He has also dubbed for Mammootty in Tamil versions of films such as Great Father and Puthiya Niyamam. 
“For serials, the dubbing has to be quick. Films give you ample time to make effort and try out the modulations of your character while recording,” he says. “Thanks to OTT, there are more opportunities. I have dubbed for the international film Black Widow, too.” 
Highlights::  Mammootty in Tamil versions of Great Father and Puthiya Niyamam; Sarathkumar in Ponninyin Selvan
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