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Scripted to excel

On an average, Maruthabharani takes 12 to 15 days to complete the dubbing work for a movie.


HE IS the uncrowned prince of the Tamil dubbing world. His efforts have been noticed and lauded in as far as Hollywood and by no less than the great Steven Spielberg, who has apparently sent congratulatory messages for the superb job done in dubbing Hollywood's mega blockbuster "Jurassic Park" in Tamil. Meet Maruthabharani, the proud son of one of the great Tamil lyricists of all time, Maruthakasi.

"My father was closely associated with the Tamil filmdom. But he was against his children entering the tinsel world and studiously avoided taking them to shooting venues,'' the much acclaimed dubbing artist recalled during a conversation here recently. "Somehow he permitted me to accompany him for shoots may be because I was the youngest and the last child in our family and he developed a soft corner," he continues his journey down memory lane to establish his interest in films. What followed in the ensuing years is history.

Though gifted with brilliant writing skills, he faced stiff resistance from his family members when he chose the profession. And after entering the celluloid world, he encountered umpteen number of professional hazards and realised how difficult it was to get the right break.

Mustering courage he approached quite a few companies with his compositions. While everybody recognised, acknowledged and respected his father, no one volunteered to promote the young talent.

On the look-out for a directorial venture, Maruthabharani then set his foot on neighbouring Telugu land under the aegis of the veteran Kothandama Reddy who wasted no time in booking him as an associate director for his Tamil movie `Kodeeswaran Mahal' starring Sivakumar and Rajalakshmi.

As Mr.Reddy was not familiar with the language, a proud Maruthabharani took charge. It is a different story that the film crashed at the box office. But the young lad was unrelenting. He worked day and night and his dedication to dubbing work fetched him encomiums. His first venture was `Neethiyin Kural' dubbed from Telugu movie `Kona Seema Kuradu'. "I realised my potential as a dubbing writer and am the only big one around in this business today," he shares candidly. Maruthabharani reached the pinnacle of glory with his series of Chiranjeevi starring Telugu movies. "Writing for dubbing movies is not an easy joke. One should have extraordinary command over the language the film is dubbed into, as words and the lip movements of the artiste has to synchronise," he says.

When asked to recall some difficult working moments, in a flash he comes out with his assignment of dubbing Bollywood's superhit film "Maine Pyar Kiya" in Tamil as `Kadhal Oru Kavithai'. In the Hindi film , the heroine "Bhagyashree, who works in a house where her lover (Salman Khan) resides, always replies to the Lady of the house, in a monosyllable "ji". "In different dialogues, the "ji" figured repeatedly in different intonations. And the hard task master that Sooraj Barjatya was, he wanted me to reproduce the "ji" effect ditto. Initially it was very difficult but I finally managed with a single syllable `hhmm'. The whole unit appreciated my effort."

The film ran to full houses for more than 100 days in several theatres across the State prompting many Hindi producers to dub their movies to Tamil. Needless to say that most of the offers came knocking to Maruthabharani.

"Since I don't know Hindi, we had to employ a translator for dubbing purposes," he reveals candidly. In the meanwhile, dubbing offers from other South Indian languages too started pouring his way.

But it is the job and the ensuing success of the Tamil version of `Jurassic Park' that he cherishes the most. "It was a turning point in my life. The success of that movie turned the attention of Hollywood producers on me. Now I have done dubbing work for Jackie Chan's movies. At present I am on my mission to dub James Bond movies. I had already dubbed `The spy who loved me' as `Ragasiya Ulavali' and began work on `Gold Finger'," he shares with much pride.

On an average, Maruthabharani takes 12 to 15 days to complete the dubbing work for a movie. Since the tax for the dubbed movies have been hiked, not many people like to venture into this field, he feels. If the Government relaxes the tax structure, it will be beneficial to all those who live by this profession, he believes.

Having dubbed more than 600 movies so far, Maruthabharani still nurtures his ambition to direct a movie someday and soon.

T.SARAVANAN

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