‘Dangal’ and ‘Kaabil’ are just two recent Hindi films that have added a little more money to their kitty thanks to the dubbed Telugu versions
Each time there’s an announcement of a Hindi film dubbed in Telugu or Tamil, we take a second look at the poster, sometimes see the trailer out of curiosity to see how an Aamir Khan or Hrithik Roshan sounds in Telugu and Tamil. Of course, someone else has dubbed for them and we look closely to see the lip sync or the lack of it.
Many of us in Hyderabad may not give a second thought to a dubbed version of a Hindi film. But there is a definite market for these films in the interiors.
Hrithik Roshan’s recent film, Kaabil, was released as Balam in Telugu. Riaz Ahmed, who distributed the film in Telangana and Andhra states that 40 per cent of the revenue for the film from the Telangana-Andhra-Rayalaseema regions came from the Telugu version and the remaining from the Hindi original. “In cities like Hyderabad, the Telugu dubbed version may not be necessary. But even in cities like Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, we release both Hindi and Telugu. There’s a big advantage when you release the Telugu version in areas like Srikakulam, Kakinada, Eluru and Rajahmundry. You reach a different segment of audience,” says Riaz.
He points out how films produced by Rajshri Films and Yash Raj Films have been doing this for years. Many of Hrithik Roshan starrers in recent years have been dubbed in Telugu as well. At the time of Kaabil’s release, Rakesh Roshan stated that it made business sense to take that extra effort to dub. “Hrithik has a sizeable fan base among children and youngsters, cutting across language barriers, after Koi Mil Gaya. When I learnt about the reception he gets in Telugu and Tamil speaking regions, I decided to dub his films,” Rakesh Roshan said.
Aamir Khan’s Dangal and Sushant Singh Rajput’s M.S. Dhoni – an untold story were released with the same titles as that of the original and they fared well.
Taapsee Pannu’s forthcoming film Naam Shabana, a story based on her character from the film Baby, will also find its way to Telugu as Nenu Shabana.
It’s well-known how Hollywood made inroads into the Indian market, dubbing their films in different languages to reach a wide audience. “In Hyderabad, 20 years ago English films released in barely two or three theatres like Sangeet and Skyline. Now English films are screened in at least 30 to 40 screens in the twin cities and quite a few of those are the dubbed versions, both Hindi and Telugu. It’s a similar model that Bollywood follows,” sums up Riaz.
So then, the Dangal dangal chant becomes yudham yudham and in Balam, Hrithik Roshan tells Yami gautam, Naa jeevitam nee vallane sampooranam ayyindi (My life is complete only with you).