Thursday, 4 December 2014

Dangerous Dummies Dubbing our Films

I’m sure a lot of people around the world watch original movies dubbed in their own language. I’m sure you must have done so too. Come on, you can’t deny having watched at least one beautiful English movie torn to shreds in Hindi just for the fun of it. You were just bored on a Sunday and had nothing to do. You had a good movie but only the dubbed version which you are too good to watch because you are a true connoisseur of cinema. But what the hell might as well get a laugh or two out of it.

So you saw it.

You sat through the entire film and were laughing the whole time because you’d seen the one in English. But you’re also disgusted because you’ve degraded yourself by watching a ‘dubbed’ version, have you not? Aah! That short smile of guilt and regret tells me you’ve gone and done it… Tch tch tch… poor you.

Image Courtesy: Google Images.

But. If you haven’t or you regularly watch English films dubbed in Hindi because of reasons like the Americans don’t speak British English or speak it too fast or speak Americanese because they think that’s English… it’s ok. I can understand.

In that case, be aware that what you’re hearing being spoken in the film isn’t actually what the dialogues are. You might as well be watching a Hindi film with American actors.

To put it straight – What you’re watching isn’t exactly the literal translation of what is being spoken by the characters in the film.

If you didn’t know that then it is my unfortunate duty to inform you that thou hast been made what we in India call a ‘Bakra’. In other words, ‘a damn fool’.

Oh you already knew that? Damn. Then you read all the above for nothing. However, if you can still bear with me for a moment, I’ll explain myself.

You see, Hindi is as of now the third most spoken language in the world, Mandarin Chinese and English being at first and second places respectively. So when a widely popular film is dubbed into Hindi and is seen by the Hindi speaking audience of the world, can you imagine how many people only hear the bullshit that the dubbing artists spew out? I’m not saying that all movies are dubbed badly but in my experience, most of them are and when this happens, a lot of people less smart than you actually believe that load of nonsense.

Films, I believe, are the mirror of society, not wholly representative, but a foggy mirror nonetheless. People actually do connect with movies and believe what is shown therein to be a reflection of the civilization they come from. So when and if you watch a movie that has been dubbed in Hindi, let it be Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, French, Spanish, Austrian, German, Australian, British or American, there may be discrepancies in the translation and since you may or may not know all these languages, you may not realize the differences between the original and dubbed dialogues.

This is dangerous.

It is not always apparent but we do understand different cultures only by watching the films made there unless you are a globe-trotting multi-millionaire intellectual who understands culture only by going to different countries and observing them closely. So our thinking is affected largely by what we see in films. This effect is unimaginable if viewed from a global perspective of the number of films dubbed wrongly and viewed by the Hindi populace of the world. Try to think about that. I’ll wait.



Ok, now what one generation thinks about another culture is bound to affect the next generation because that is how one gains preliminary knowledge about the world. So the effect of dumb dubbing is not restricted to space alone, it also has an effect over time.

Whoa! Right? I thought so too.

So you see how dummies dubbing our films can be dangerous? If not, then please do watch the film ‘Men in Black II’ in English and in Hindi. My team and I found 74 discrepancies in dialogues ranging from geographical to cultural to racial to language based errors.


But damn is it hilarious!