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What is common between Trisha in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya & Tamannah in Kandein Kaadhalai? Shriya in Sivaji and Sada in Anniyan? Di Aishwarya Rai in Endhiran sound like Jyothika in Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu?

Dubbing is an important part of a film and in Tamil Cinema, most leading ladies do not dub for themselves. Therefore, they can never take 100% credit for the role they have done, because there is one other person putting words in their mouth(literally).If we do not know how the dubbing artiste looks like (Savitha Reddy, Renuka) then we don’t mind the dubbing. In contrast, when they are popular film personalities, like Rohini, Suhasini and Anuradha Sriram we cannot remove their faces when we watch the movie, which is quite a loss.

Most film makers will agree that there is so much scope for character improvisation during dubbing and when we have Hansika Motwani, Anushka Shetty, Nayanthara, Neetu Chandra making the rounds, dubbing is here to stay. Unfortunately, Dubbing artistes do not get their due credit. In fact, there is minimal recognition and a non-existent platform since there are no categories to award them. 

Some of the glaring failures in dubbing are Suchitra for Shirya in Kandhasamy. Suchitra’s nasal accent and Shirya’s horrific lip-sync ensured the film crashed in spite of Vikram, I am sure you wonder who dubbed for Nagma in citizen? She was a tough cop but sounded like a man... Kaniha worked wonders for Shirya in Shivaji, as did Chinmayi for Trisha in VTV and for Tamannah in Kandein Kaadhalai. Mani Ratnam insists heroines to dub for themselves, which adds a definite flavor to the movie. Remember how Paruthi Veeran worked for Priyamani. One of the primary reasons Simran missed the National award for Kannathil Muthamittal was her failure to dub for herself and what a loss.

Actress Shriya was requested by Dhanush to learn Tamil in the popular TV show Coffee with Anu. Maybe that would bring a change to her wide-eyed expressions. Church park girl Trisha had a change of heart in Manmadhan Ambu and even recited a kavithai. It worked really well for her. The last time she dubbed for herself was for Ayutha Ezhuthu. But the show stealer is Asin, who dubs for all her movies and that definitely puts her on the top spot. When actresses dub for themselves it shows a definite commitment to their character and their vocation. It’s not always about the glamour and glitz.

Taking the cue from Ulaga Nayagan, let’s hope more directors insist on heroines to learn the language and dub for themselves. Maybe Trisha will sound like her in Mankatha, Tamannah and Chinmayi wont criss cross in our heads in Vengai and Shruti Hassan will be Shruti for 7am Arivu (the apple cannot fall too far from the tree).

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