It’s always a pleasure to listen to Bahubali and Rocky Bhai speak so effusively in Malayalam. And the Malayalam voice behind these characters is Ernakulam-based dubbing artist Arun CM. Today he is hailed along with the veterans in this business. He gave voice to Prabhas and Yash and helped in creating a fan base for these actors in Kerala. That he was able to convincingly bring out the various emotional graphs of their characters in his voice is proof of their popularity in Malayalam. Arun talks about his dubbing experiences to Manorama online.
You have been the voice of so many popular actors now. How did it all begin?
Since childhood, I was good at mimicry. So I wanted to do something in films. I debuted as a dubbing artist in ‘Ashwaroodan’ in 2006. I got that opportunity through a friend, and I dubbed for the child actor who portrayed Suresh Gopy’s younger version. In 2008, I dubbed for Mohanlal sir’s younger version in ‘Madambi’. At that time I just wanted to do something in cinema and didn’t really think of making a name in the field of dubbing. But when I started getting more opportunities in dubbing, I decided to take it seriously. And finally, I decided to take it as a profession.
Dubbing artists take years to get noticed. Doesn’t that bog you down?
Not really. Because so far no one has been recognised that way. It takes years for the voice behind a hero/heroine to get noticed. Though we work hard, sadly they don’t even call us for the audio launch of a film. We were always removed from such public functions as we were dubbing for the hero or heroine. So I got used to it. But now things are changing, and we are getting a lot of recognition.
'KGF2' took almost a year to finish
For 'KGF1' we just took a very short time to dub as we had time constraints. But for the second part, we had all the time in the world, and we worked on the film for nearly a year. I am happy to work on such a big project for such a long time. The dubbing happened in Bangalore. Yash sir and other actors came and sat with us. It was a great experience.
Who will be there during dubbing?
Sometimes directors or other members of the crew will be there during the dubbing. Initially, I was a bit hesitant to dub in front of them. But now I have no such inhibitions and give my all to the dubbing. Though we are aware of the story and situation during dubbing, the theatre experience will be entirely different from what you see at the dubbing studio.
What is the approach of stars towards dubbing artists?
Actors are very fond of their dubbing artists. I represent Prabhas sir and Yash sir in Malayalam. Since I play a key role in bringing them closer to the Malayalee audience they are very friendly. During the dubbing, they come to the studio and give their inputs. So far I have had a great experience with stars.
You watch the film before it reaches the theatres. How do you manage to keep the secrecy?
After dubbing so many of my friends ask me about the film’s twists and turns. They are keen to know the story before it reaches the theatres. I find it exciting to keep everything a secret. Since I have been doing this for a long time, I am used to it. But then even if you tell the story, the experience of watching it in a theatre will be something else I guess.
To the audience
I never thought that I will be recognised for my work. But now people are recognising me. Even kids come and talk to me. It’s all thanks to ‘Baahubali’, ‘KGF1 and 2’ and ‘RRR’. I am grateful for their love.