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 THE ECONOMICS OF DUBBING

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PostSubject: THE ECONOMICS OF DUBBING   Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:31 pm

THE ECONOMICS OF DUBBING

While the pro and anti-dubbing lobbies go hammer and tongs at each other,those in the know say it does not make business sense to dub films in Kannada,Marathi and Malayalam

Of late,every controversy in Sandalwoodis linked to the dubbing issue.A few weeks ago,producer Soorappa Babu filed a complaint against Shiva Rajkumar to get back the advance he paid for a movie.This is being linked to the actors regular warning against the pro-dubbing lobby Babu is said to be in favour of dubbing.
Every other day,rumour mills are abuzz that dubbingof100-200 films into Kannada is underway.And everyone seems to have an opinion on the issue.After the success of Sudeep in Eega/ Naan Ee,Kannada producers Ramu and K Manju decided to release his dubbed Kannada films in Tamil and Telugu.Sudeep asked why other language films were not being dubbed in Kannada.

However,the real decision makers on the issue say,dubbing into Kannada is uneconomical.If you buy the dubbing rights of a Rajinikanth or Shah Rukh Khan film in Kannada,you will lose money.People in the dubbing business bet their last shiny-shirt on their backs on this one simple truth.Every discussion in Sandalwood in the last few months has veered towards dubbing in the end.The film industry has steeled itself against the onslaught of a consumer group which is demanding dubbed content in Kannada,especially films.However,the suppliers say that the demand in Kannada is not big enough to warrant an investment of time,money and effort.For years now,big Hollywood films are being dubbed in Hindi,Tamil and Telugu.However,other languages which have reasonable film industries like Marathi,Malayalam,Bengali and others do not get to see these dubbed films in their languages.The reason,say suppliers,is plain economics.

According to the operations head of a Mumbai based production house,Dubbing a Hindi film in Marathi does not make sense because most people watch Hindi films.Dubbing a Tamil film in Malayalam does not make sense for the same reason.So you see more Telugu films are dubbed in Malayalam while Tamil films are released in the original language in Kerala.In Kannada,it is slightly different.The total number of film tickets sold is comparatively less than other south states and the number of people watching a Kannada film is even less.Kannada moviegoers constitute about 35 per cent of the total audience in Karnataka.Hindi,Tamil and Telugu have a minimum of 20 per cent each.So a Hollywood movie dubbed in Hindi,Tamiland Telugu will cover more than three-fourths of the audience and there is no need to dub it in Kannada.Since most top Tamil and Telugu films are dubbed or made in both these languages,they too cover about 50 per cent of the movie goers in Karnataka without having to dub in Kannada.Original producers and distributors will therefore not take a risk in these markets.If someone wants to buy the rights and dub them,rights will be sold.

Prashanth Sambargi,who has dubbed Kannada films to Hindi,has been approached to coordinate dubbing of Telugu and Tamil films in Kannada.According to him the real problem lies with the small percentage of movie goers in Karnataka.He says,The annual revenue for Kannada films in a year is about Rs 100 crore.There are only 380 registered theatres with an average seating capacity of 400.The average occupancy is about 50 per cent for non-Kannada and 40 per cent for Kannada films.About 9 lakh people

watchKannadafilmseveryweekoutofatotal of about 27 lakh people for all languages.A dubbed Hindi or Telugu film in Kannada will cost about Rs 50 lakh.This has to be recovered from these 9 lakh Kannada audience where ticket rates are lower than theatres screening non-Kannada films.

SMALLER STARS BIGGER PROFIT

There are four important cost factors to dubbing a film in Karnataka.The cost of song re-recording could be approximately Rs 10 lakh.If Sonu Nigam has sung in a Hindi film,hiring him for the Kannada version would be expensive.A local singer will come much cheaper.Second cost is translation which could be anywhere from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh and takes three days.Cost of the dubbing artistes is Rs 2 lakh.If the script of an original language has to be altered a newspaper or a name board on celluloid it will cost about Rs 1 lakh.Marketing costs will be about Rs 25 to Rs 30 lakh for the state.If it is a local producer who is doing the dubbing,he has to purchase the rights which will be the biggest variable input cost.

Sambargi says it will be uneconomical to dub big films.He says,The distribution rights of a Rajinikanths Tamil film in Karnataka costs many crore of rupees.If you buy the dubbing rights for his film,it would be impossible to recover the costs.Big films of other languages demand huge sum for dubbing rights.So it is mostly lesser known stars of other languages whose films are dubbed to make a profit.These films have to be purchased for about Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh each.It would be economical to dub the films of smaller stars from Tamil or Telugu in Kannada.But original producers themselves are averse to dubbing in Kannada or Marathi. A top Kannada film producer and distributor says the cost of dubbing a film into Kannada can be brought down to Rs 15lakh.He says,Even if Amitabh Bachchan has sung the song,we can re-record it by a local singer. Many Kannada,Tamil and Telugu films are dubbed into Hindi just for TV and not for theatrical release.This kind of dubbing costs about Rs 5 lakh apart from the rights.A couple of dubbing artistes will dub for all characters and even the song recording is done cheaply.Only this kind of compromise on quality can make dubbed films viable in Kannada,he added.

NUMBER GAME



35%

constitute Kannada moviegoers out of the total movie audience in Karnataka

100

crore is the revenue for all Kannada films in a year

9

lakh people watch Kannada films every week

18

lakh people watch other language films every week 50 lakh is the cost of dubbing a Hindi or Telugu film in Kannada

10

lakh is the cost of re-recording a song in Kannada

50

thousand to 2 lakh is the cost of translating a script into Kannada

2

lakh is the cost of dubbing artiste.

30

lakh is the cost of marketing a dubbed film in Kannada in the state
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