KGF: Chapter One is a massive hit outside Karnataka; will the industry allow dubbed content in return?
Though there is no official ban on other language films to get dubbed in Kannada, the local political outfits and powerful members of the Kannada film industry are against this trend. Will KGF change things?
Kannada biggie KGF: Chapter One is a massive hit outside Karnataka. The Hindi dubbed version of the film has registered a net of Rs 43.42 crore and in the Telugu states, KGF: Chapter One grossed more than Rs 20 crore. The Tamil version of the film also earned reasonable revenue at the box office despite competing against six local films. Trade sources say that KGF: Chapter One has grossed more than Rs 200 crore across the globe and nearly 35 to 40 percent of the revenue is from other languages. The biggest question among the Kannada trade is will the unofficial ban against other language dubbed films will be lifted now?
Though there is no official ban on other language films to get dubbed in Kannada, the local political outfits and powerful members of the Kannada film industry are against this trend. “Several people in the Kannada industry oppose dubbed films because they feel that once theater owners and audiences start seeing those dubbed contents, the revenue of the core original Kannada movies will be affected. Satellite channels will also secure more dubbed movies and they will not entertain the Kannada language films," says a Kannada producer, on condition of anonymity.
After 56 years, Tamil cinema’s leading actor Ajith-starrer Commando (Kannada dubbed version of Vivegam) was the first major release in Karnataka. The film also went on to become a big hit. Earlier, Ajith-starrer Arrambam and Yennai Arindhaal were also dubbed but the producers, who bought the rights, had faced huge opposition from pro-Kannada groups. Only after the Competition Commission of India imposed a fine on Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj and Kannada Film Chamber of Commerce’s former President Sa Ra Govindu for obstructing the release of Sathya Dev IPS (dubbed version of Yennai Arindhaal), Commando had a smooth release. As Commando has become a hit, Ajith's recent Pongal blockbuster Viswasam is also likely to get a Kannada dubbed release soon.
Recently, Karnataka distributor Jack Manju tried his best to release Superstar Rajinikanth-starrer Petta in Kannada but the actor opted out of dubbing his lines in the language in order to avoid controversies. Rajinikanth does not want to hurt the sentiments of Kannada people and as he is also planning to foray into Tamil Nadu politics, he prefers not to dub his films in Kannada.
Sources say that a section of Kannada producers is now willing to secure the dubbing rights of other language films. Recently, at the success meet of KGF: Chapter One, senior actor Anand Nag said, “It’s time for the industry to change our stance in releasing other language dubbed films in Kannada. Our people are also ready to watch such contents”.
KGF: Chapter One hero Yash also addressed this issue as well. He said, “Now, we are living in an era where audiences are watching other language films with subtitles. But at the same time, we should also provide an option for people who like dubbed contents because legally, it’s allowed. Time for our industry to adapt to the changes”.
Steps were also taken to dub Ram Charan-starrer Vinaya Vidheya Rama in Kannada but as the original version itself bombed at the box office, the process has been put on hold.
Reliable sources from the Kannada film industry say that the success of KGF: Chapter One in Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil has actually loosened the pressure on the local producers because the pro-Kannada activists cannot question their loyalty for the language now. Moreover, the success of Ajith-starrer Commando has also proved the fact that Kannada audiences are open to dubbed content. The CCI’s bold decision against the pro-Kannada activists is also another encouraging factor for the Kannada distributors to acquire dubbed content in future.
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