Sandalwood picks up the dubbing trend, but with little success. Here’s why

The pan-Indian phenomenon has resulted in more films being dubbed into Kannada and released simultaneously in Sandalwood.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published Oct 11, 2023 | 5:00 PMUpdatedOct 11, 2023 | 5:22 PM

Kannada dubbed version sandalwood

The issue related to dubbing in the Kannada film industry is decades old. While dubbing of other languages films into Kannada was not allowed for over five decades, the trend picked up after courts and the Competition Commission of India came into the picture.

Over the past six to seven years, Sandalwood witnessed a steady rise in the number of other language films being dubbed and released in Kannada.

Though the success rate is the bare minimum, the pan-Indian phenomenon and the emergence of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms have changed the economics of film releases in multiple languages.

After KGF Chapter 1 & 2 (2018 & 2022) followed by Kantara (2022) fared phenomenally well in other languages paved the way for a reverse trend to occur. The Kannada film industry had been facing stiff competition with other language film industries since a majority of other language movies were released directly in Karnataka.

jailier kannada dubbed version

The Kannada dubbed version of Rajinikanth’s ‘Jailer’ did a roaring business in Karnataka. (Supplied)

“Unlike other States, Karnataka is unique. Here, the audience likes to watch movies made in all languages — English, Hindi, and other South Indian languages. This is the main reason why most Kannada dubbed versions failed to make any inroads,” Santhosh, a Kannada filmmaker, told South First.

However, Sudheendhra Venkatesh, a leading PRO in Sandalwood,  felt that the trend picked up after more filmmakers started making honest efforts to release their movies in Kannada too.

“The best example is the success of Jailer. The Kananda dubbed version of the Rajinikanth-starrer was well-received by the audience here since it featured Shivanna (Dr Shiva Rajkumar) in an effective cameo,” Venkatesh told South First.

“Challenging Star” Darshan, during a protest over the Cauvery water dispute, also mentioned that the Kannada dubbed version of the Tamil film Jailer collected huge profits in Karnataka.

Related: Cauvery water row: Darshan takes an indirect jibe at the success of Rajini’s ‘Jailer’ in Karnataka

Lesser screens

Big-budget films like Adipurush (2023) dubbed in Kannada failed to do any magic. Among other reasons, the prime factor for poor performance is the lesser number of screens allocated to the dubbed (Kannada) version.

“For instance, the sequel to the hit Tamil film Chandramukhi 2 was not released in Kannada. Though the filmmakers had it dubbed in Kannada, they did not release it in theatres. The distributors who buy the rights of dubbed versions need to emphasise more on getting good numbers of screens for the Kannada version too,” Harish Arasu, another leading PRO in the Kannada film industry, told South First.

While the dubbing industry in Sandalwood is taking baby steps, Harish Arasu — who predominantly works for other language films — says that the number of other language filmmakers wanting to release their ventures in Kannada has substantially gone up.

“The makers of Animal starring Ranbir Kapoor and Rashmika Mandanna are directly releasing the film in Kannada version too,” he added.

But then, this could be due to the fan following of Rashmika Mandanna who started her acting career in Sandalwood.

Meanwhile, a leading distributor in Kannada, KRG Studios is releasing Dhanush and Shivanna-starrer Tamil film Captain Miller in Kannada.

Also, Jayanna Films is releasing the Kannada version of Ravi Teja’s Tiger Nageswara Rao.

Also Read: Professional film reviews and motivated reviews are different: Kerala High Court

Pan-Indian phenomenon

Now that most Kannada films are being released in multiple languages, Sandalwood seems to have opened up to dubbed versions.

Shivanna ghost releasing in malayalam

Shivanna’s ‘Ghost’ will be released in multiple languages. (Supplied)

For the past two years, especially since the release of KGF and the humongous success of Kantara, almost every film featuring the ‘A’ listers in Sandalwood has been pushed for multiple language releases.

The next big release of one such film is Dr Shivarajkumar-starrer Ghost. The movie, scheduled to hit the screens on 19 October, will be released in Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam.

Almost all star films from the South Indian film industry are witnessing a release in multiple languages, including Kannada.

“The distributors of films in original language and the dubbed versions are different. Sometimes, the lack of screens for dubbed versions results in filmmakers choosing to release the dubbed versions on OTT platforms,” another PRO in Sandalwood noted.

Of the many dubbed films in Kannada that are lined up for release, the Hindi film Ganapath starring Tiger Shroff, Amitabh Bachchan, and Kriti Sanon will also be released in Kannada as Ganapath.

There are even talks that Tamil star actor Thapalathy Vijay’s Leo could also be dubbed and released in Kannada.

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