Local voices add to foreign B.O.

CALCUTTA — Dubbing has boosted the fortunes of Hollywood films in India.

Seven years ago, the first dubbed studio film, “Jurassic Park,” was released, and its boffo B.O. altered the landscape. Studios now dub almost all blockbusters in Hindi, while Tamil and Telegu dubs are also common.

“Now, American films consistently clock 100 million rupees ($2.08 million) in box office revenues. In fact, the blockbusters earn more than $3 million,” say studio sources.

Dubbing has also spurred the market share of Hollywood films. What was a measly 0.5% five years ago, as of 2001, has increased to almost 3%.Dubbed pics also get a wider release.

“When a film is released in just its original English edition, the number of prints ranges between five and 25. If it’s dubbed into three or four languages, the print figure rises to a 100 or more,” says a distribution exec.

But not every Hollywood film lends itself to the time and expense of dubbing — audience friendly actioners, special effects-heavy films and horror pics are the top candidates for dubbing. A sample of films dubbed in recent years include “Anaconda,” “Godzilla,” “Independence Day” and “The Matrix.”

“Dubbing films helps expand the audience base and playability for our films. It also allows us to establish local connections with the typical filmgoing public,” says Columbia TriStar India’s managing director Uday Singh.

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