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Dubbing and Voicing, a term that we live within our day to day life, listening Radio, not only the songs but the Radio Jockeys, hearing announcements on Metro stations, Watching English/Telugu movies dubbed in Hindi, and recently who’s not aware with the Dubsmash application, which has made everybody a dubbing maestro.

We were lucky to have a chance to talk with Mr. Anil Datt, who has been serving the dubbing industry from past 20 years. His effortless mastery in Voicing and Dubbing made him the most prominent dubbing professional and Voice-Over artist in India. Anil datt has been the most consistent Voice artists (Hindi) of Discovery Channel, and other channels like TLC, Zee T.V., Star one, Alpha T.V. (Punjabi), Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and various T.V Commercials etc. He has done voicing in four languages- Hindi, English, Urdu, and Punjabi. He has been the voice of Albus Dumbledore for all the Harry Potter Films, he was Liam Neeson of Batman Begins, Fred Flintstones, and Garfield of Cartoon series and what not. Our Editor Mr. Vivek Satya Mitram had an interaction with him on overall scenario of dubbing & voicing industry and explored career avenues, challenges & growth possibilities for young generation in it. Here is the complete interview –

Vivek Satya Mitram: How big is the career in dubbing industry in terms of India?

Anil Datt: A person who’s not from this industry is aware with the term dubbing only. Basically this industry has two main bifurcations, one is voicing and another is dubbing. In Voicing one doesn’t need to sync the characters, characters are not shown on the screen; it’s just the voice we get to hear, the announcements on metro stations or you see the advertisements or any news; it comes along with the voiceovers. Voicing itself has a vast career; it involves Sports commentary, live events commentary, like in Polo matches, which is very challenging. Whereas Dubbing involves little technicality, here one needs to sync the characters. One can dub for corporate films, short films, feature films, Series and Television Ads, which is the most lucrative part in this industry.

In dubbing apart from language proficiency and voice quality it requires ability to mimic. Celebrities or the actors, they themselves sometimes don’t get time to dub on their own. If one has the ability to mimic somebody, actors like Amithabh Bachhan, Shahrukh Khan and many more, they’re paid very good amount. So it is very lucrative that way.

Vivek Satya Mitram: It seems a little insecure field. According to you anyone should go for this or not?

Anil Datt: Recently I saw a film ‘The Secret’, and I got inspired by one line given by Henry Ford (owner of Ford motors) i.e. “whether you think you can or you cannot, in both the cases you are right.” This principle is applicable everywhere in every situation. If somebody has decided to do something then he must do it anyhow. Recently there was a workshop of Om kataria (a well known Rang Karmi), he asked his students, “what is the main thing required to excel in this industry?” So they said Money, Talent, References, and Qualification etc…. Then he said you all have been right somewhere, but the main pre-requisite for this industry is your passion, towards it.

It’s a very general answer applicable to every person. If you have passion, and will power, then all the doors are open for you. I am here in this industry since 20 years, and I have seen young people, devoting all their time in this field and excel, within 6 months, a year or 2 years, and there cases are some cases where people just don’t get that much of achievement. It all depends on the person who’s willing to serve this industry, how and where they want to see themselves and they work accordingly. If you are asking in a very pertinent and very specific to this particular field, I think there is no insecurity. Desire and need for security always leads to more insecurity.

Vivek Satya Mitram: One can choose this field as their First career or one can pursue this, as he/she has good voice while doing something else?

Anil Datt: A day or two day back, I read something online; there I got to know that Americans change their career at least 7 times in their life span, which is quite interesting. In India people are taught to choose one specific education and they choose one specific career for their life, which makes no sense.
There is a famous quote said by our singing legends “Ek ke saadhe sab sadhe aur sab saadhe sab jaaye”. Pursuing 4 careers or 10 careers that totally depends on you, but whatever you’re doing, you must be focused in that. It all depends, what we think and how we take things. If you came with the thought, you need to achieve height in this particular field, and you are driven by passion, then you will get what you want.

Vivek Satyamitram: Is there any permanent job available or it’s a freelance industry?

Anil Datt: As per my knowledge, both the Voicing and dubbing it’s a freelance work. There are some jobs in radio stations, but it depends, they employ Rj’s, announcer, or newscaster on contractual bases as well as on permanent job. Mostly it’s freelancing.

Vivek Satya Mitram: How much one can earn in the starting phase?

Anil Datt: Well in the beginning, there is a possibility it can start with free of cost, like trainees don’t get paid and sometimes, it does not even involve the travel allowance (stipend). It does not happen everytime, but there are some company’s who do not pay the trainees. So your journey starts as a trainee and later you can reach the heights where Sudesh Bhosle is right now, he dubs for Amitabbh Bachhan and as far as I know he charges around 20K to 30K per word.

Vivek Satya Mitram: If somebody has spent 10 years in the industry, so after 10 years what he’s getting out every month?

Anil Datt: Well it depends on the person’s market value. If we talk about any particular industry say for Advertising, and you’re doing good in the industry either voicing or dubbing then you can get around 25K to 30K per day or may be even more.

Vivek Satya Mitram: Can one pursue entrepreneurship in this career and is the set up costly as far as the investment is concerned?

Anil Datt: Of course, one can go for entrepreneurship in this career. But nothing comes at free of cost, the set up is costly, more than the set up one need to establish himself in the market, networking is important then only this kind of set up can be run smoothly. You will have to get yourself known in the industry and set up such a portal. You can be a dubbing coordinator, vendor or program producer, who produces dubbed programs for infotainment channels and for all of this your market value is important.

Vivek Satya Mitram: What advice would you like to give to the youth who want to pursue  an offbeat , unique and unusual career such as this?

Anil Datt: In a nutshell both dubbing and voicing is a vast field, either you’re coming for voicing or dubbing for both the cases voice cultivation is necessary, Depth in voice is needed. For me every voice is beautiful, but in the industry they give more response to the grainy (heavy) voices for male and sleek voices for female. In some ways this stereotype thinking is changing now days, they even give the importance to the husky voice of females and same way for male also, they give preferences to the voices which are good, and it doesn’t need to be grainier always. Other than this, strength of voice is important, one must do different voice exercises on daily basis, language proficiency is required, and if somebody really wants to excel, then he must think what is new he can serve to bring change and to make his presence in the industry.