Desi touch to foreign flavour

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Feb 2018 12:13:27


By Farina Salim Quraishi,

“Gone are days when Hasta la vista, baby went something like, Phir milenge, navjaat shishu! With spot on script translations and starry voice-overs, Hollywood studios are going the extra mile to capture the highly lucrative Indian market.”

As the first superhero film of 2018, Black Panther gears up for release, superhero fans are finding it difficult to contain their excitement. Black Panther has been popular amongst fans since his first appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and his extended role in the forthcoming Avengers: Infinity War has only added to the buzz around the first Black superhero.

Be it Gal Gadot’s action avatar as Wonder Woman, or Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine in Logan or much-loved Asgardian Thor and Hulk getting together to battle against a supervillain in Thor: Ragnarok or superheroes from a different universe taking on the evil forces in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 -- 2017 was the year of superheroes at the box office, with audience lapping up all the treats.

The recent announcement by Marvel Studios that they have 20 more superhero films on the docket further gives fans much reason to rejoice. And like the proverbial icing on the cake, maverick writer-lyricist Manoj Muntashir, who wrote the Hindi dialogues for the Baahubali series, has been roped in to script dialogues for the Hindi version of Black Panther.
As Hollywood films continue to enjoy wider acceptance and popularity in India, sometimes even surpassing the box office collections of local ‘blockbusters’, the improvement in Hindi dubbing is further adding to the growing fortunes of English films. The Jungle Book’s dubbed version contributed 58 per cent to its total revenue, while Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Tiger Shroff’s much-lauded Hindi voice-over, drew in hordes of the action star’s fans.

Previouly in dubbed version things were over simplified and cinematic details were often ignored for punches, which used to be all over the place. Speak nothing about the unintentional humour they created! But the state of Hindi dubbed films has improved drastically.

Gone are days when Hasta la vista, baby went something like, Phir milenge, navjaat shishu or the iconic James Bond line, Shaken, but not stirred was the unintentionally hillarious, Hila do, lekin ghumana mat…! With spot on script translations and starry voice-overs, Hollywood studios are going the extra mile to capture the highly lucrative Indian market.

Roping in Muntashir for Black Panther is not the only recent Hollywood outing to get a Bollywood name on board. Mayur Puri is a leading name in giving desi touch to Hollywood films with his stellar work in The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War , Angry Birds and Spider-Man: Homecoming among others.

A trend that began way back in 2004, with Shah Rukh Khan lending his voice to protagonist Bob Parr in The Incredibles - after a lull period - has picked up pace now and flourishing, with scores of popular stars joining the professional dubbing artists to add an Indian touch to the foreign stories.

Recently, Gaurav Chopra was the voice of ‘The God of Thunder’ in Thor: Ragnarok. While Arshad Warsi voicing over for Jack Sparrow (in the Hindi version of Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge) made the popular pirate undeniably Indian. Youngistan favourite, Varun Dhawan was the voice of Captain Steve Rogers in Captain America: Civil War, even as Disney’s blockbuster The Jungle Book had a host of renowned names -including Priyanka Chopra as Kaa, Om Puri as Bagheera, Irrfan Khan as Baloo, and Nana Patekar as Shere Khan - joining the fun party.

Manjor Muntashir told PTI that literal translation is the biggest obstacle for a dialogue writer, who has to represent a film in a language other than its own.
“Literal translation is a mistake that we have been making for years. That is the reason a lot of great cinema from the South and Hollywood never worked in Hindi, because what was being offered was fake and unreal. News can be translated verbatim. Not literature, poetry or dialogues.”

He said it becomes problematic when writers merely translate dialogues from one language to another without understanding the context and reference point.
“Before Baahubali, people used to take just two- three days to translate. They didn’t keep the film in front of them while translating. They just had the script and loosely translated it.”

While Mayur Puri had earlier told IANS that an investment in good writing will inevitably translate into good business as Hollywood films are consumed differently across India. “The whole idea is that there’s a huge audience for Hollywood because of the style, spectacle and technique of the movies. But there is a reason why they stop at a point as the dubbed versions feel fake.”

He also said that his approach to translation was different. “I try to translate the original writer’s intent. Case point The Jungle Book, wherein instead of translating Red Flower as Lal Phool, I choose to go with Rakt Phool as it made more sense.”

With the strong words of Mahendra Baahubali still resonating in our heads, we can hardly wait for Black Panther aka T’Challa, the king of Wakanda raise the pitch to defend his people and kingdom in Black Panther, in a pitch that has been perfected by the best.