Literal translation in dubbing causes unintentional humour: Writer

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New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) Writer-lyricist Manoj Muntashir, who besides making headlines for his Hindi dialogues that he lent to the “Baahubali” films, has penned the Hindi version for the upcoming Hollywood film “Black Panther”, says the long-standing traditional mindset of translating films into Hindi is a setback.

For a long time, a number of films from southern India and Hollywood have been dubbed in Hindi. But often, they are literal translations which have been made fun of as they look more comical and unreal, losing the kind of impact they are meant to have on the Hindi speaking audience.

Muntashir believes “that is one shortcut that has hounded us in a big way”.

“The primary thing is that one has to get out of that translation mindset. A lot of films from the south including the huge, iconic films starring superstar Rajinikanth, Mammootty, Chiranjeevi were dubbed in Hindi, and they all failed at the Hindi box office,” Muntashir told IANS.

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“The reason being… If you look back at it, you will realise that they somehow became fake. It is because we dubbed them and when we try to translate them, they created an unintentional humour and unintentional elements of comedy happened,” he added.

Stressing that getting the perfect lip sync is the biggest challenge, he said that when he got “Baahubali”, he realised that if he makes an attempt to get the lip sync right, it would do wonders.

“There is a character on-screen who is speaking in another language. There is a certain kind of degree at which the lips move and if you are careless towards that lip sync, then your dialogues will definitely sound fake. Whatever the character is saying, will sound fake. You have to understand the expression, the eyes, the body language and then put the words,” said the writer of the track “Galliyan”.

“Technically speaking, it’s a difficult job but once you start enjoying something, then there is no issue”, he added.

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Can the moments that sound amazing in English movies as they use certain slangs be well-captured in Hindi?

“Yes, it is possible. The slang’s parallel expression will definitely be out there and if you are unable to do it, then either the translator does not know or has not done his or her research well enough. There has to be something.

“I will not say that everything can be translated, nor is that possible. If there is some area where you don’t think it is possible, then avoid it,” said the 41-year-old writer.

“Instead of showing your weakness in that area, don’t show your smartness that you tried and you got this… Do not do that. Try and say something else perhaps in that moment which gives the same impact . That is what original thinking is,” he added.

On his work for “Black Panther”, Muntashir believes the characters in the movie are the same as those in the comic series depicting Indian mythology “Amar Chitra Katha”. Therefore, they are more relatable for the Indian mindest.

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“When I sat and saw the movie, when I was at work, I saw that it is a character like our ‘Amar Chitra Katha’… just the name is ‘Black Panther’ with just another kind of location and landscape. The character is very much the same… The qualities, the bravery and valour that we have seen in our ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ and ‘Baahubali’.

“It is the same character which has a heart of gold, a hero, legend and an ethical person. So, while I was watching the film for my work, there was not a single moment when I felt a discord or disconnection for me as a Hindi or a Bollywood audience with this character. Whatever his name is here, he is my Vikramaditya, my Baahubali,” he added.

(Kishori Sud can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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