Gandhibhavan at Pathanapuram has been home to countless people who have gone through various experiences in life. They enjoy a peaceful and loving life here, in the company of fabulous nature.
Interestingly, there is a panchayat in Gandhibhavan and an elected president as well to look after the well being of the residents. The president’s face might not be familiar to you. However, something clicks as soon as he begins to speak. He may sound like yesteryear actors Sankar or Rahman from some of your favourite movies. Dubbing artist Chandramohan holds the record for giving voice to the most number of actors in Malayalam cinema. However, one cannot help but wonder how Chandramohan, who was once the most popular male dubbing artist, ended up in Gandhibhavan.
Chandramohan, in a candid interview with Manorama Online, opens up about his life in Chennai and the unexpected demise of his wife and noted dubbing artist Ambili.
Chandramohan had lived in Chennai for 42 years. When Malayalam cinema relocated to Kerala, Chandramohan and family too had moved to his native place in Thiruvananthapuram.
Though his chances in the movies diminished, Chandramohan became busy lending voices to serial actors. It was during this time that his wife Ambili became ill. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour which unfortunately was in the last stage. Ambili passed away just three months after she was diagnosed with tumour.
“Ambili bid adieu to this world on 2 October 2018. I became lonely after that. I spoke to Somaraj sir and came to Gandhibhavan. I had built a house at Vattiyoorkavu. Now, my kids stay in that house. My elder daughter is employed while the younger one is a final year graduate student. All my relatives are based in Thiruvananthapuram.
I came to Gandhibhavan as I thought it would be good to stay in the company of people of my own age. I have been staying here for the last two years,” says Chandramohan.
Life at Gandhi Bhavan
Chandramohan admits he didn’t think of such a life when Ambili was alive. “I felt lonely after she left us. That is why I came to Gandhibhavan. I am very busy here. There is a panchayat in Gandhibhavan where elections are held. I won the election and became the panchayat president here. I am busy with it most of the time. So, I don’t get time to think about anything else. My old friends often call me on the phone. Some of them have no idea that I am at Gandhibhavan. Now, after the news appeared, lots of people are calling at Gandhibhavan to enquire about me,” notes Chandramohan.
Chandramohan and Ambili had a love marriage. It was in Chennai that they had met for the first time. “I had known Ambili since she was a little girl. I was closer to her family as well. She began dubbing at the age of eight. Bhakta Markandeya was her first movie. After that she had dubbed for countless films,” recalls Chandramohan.
Ambili had dubbed for late actress Monisha in all her movies.
Chandramohan and Ambili had tied the knot at Chennai. He admits that he severely missed his favourite city when the family moved to Thiruvananthapuram.
“42 years is a really long time. Relocating to a different place after so many years was really difficult in the beginning. Slowly, we became used to it. I was alright when Ambili was with me,” says the veteran dubbing artist.
Kamal Haasan’s voice
Chandramohan had been working at Warrier and Warrier Associates in Chennai before trying his hands in dubbing. He was friends with noted editor Sankunni. It was Sankunni who asked Chandramohan to give a voice test.
Though Chandramohan refused by saying that he didn’t know anything about dubbing, Sankunni wasn’t ready to let him go.
“My mother TP Radhamani was an Akashvani artist. I had accompanied my mother to her work a few times and that was my only experience in this field. I went to voice test for Kamal Haasan in IV Sasi sir’s movie Aashirvadam. The first take itself was ok. That is how I became a dubbing artist. I and Ambili had dubbed together in lots of movies. I dubbed for actor Sankar in more than 170 movies, except Manjil Virinja Pookkal. I dubbed for Suresh Gopi until he did New Delhi.
I had also dubbed for Rahman in all the movies that were directed by Sathyan Anthikad. Besides, I had given voice for actors like Shanavas, Rajkumar and Raveendran. I also gave voice for Telugu actor Chiranjeevi in all the dubbed versions of his movies,” notes Chandramohan.
Chandramohan recalls that there wasn’t a state award for dubbing when he and Ambili were in the peak of their careers. Later, awards for dubbing artists were instituted after intervention from many prominent dubbing artists including Bhagyalakshmi.
“Even though I had worked in lots of amazing movies, nothing got the recognition it deserved. I won’t get opportunities like that anymore. I had won a critics award in 2005. I cannot say that I have stayed completely away from dubbing after I came to Gandhibhavan. I had lent voice for Gandhibhavan’s programs as well. I wish to continue dubbing if good offers come my way.
My friends say that my voice hasn’t changed much. Besides, I wish to keep alive the skill that I have learned. I know I cannot dub for the lead heroes now as most of them dub for themselves. However, I wish to work if I get amazing opportunities. I am not interested in acting at all. I had done a few minor roles in some movies. But, I am least interested in it now,” concludes Chandramohan.