Chennai: When Hindi-Tamil film producer A V Mohan heard the industry grapevine that Robert Amritraj-Ashok Amritraj Entertainment Company has secured the rights to distribute old James Bond movies in India, he decided to act fast.
Approaching Amritraj (the father of tennis players Anand, Vijay and Ashok) on the Vijayadasami day last year, Mohan gave him a blank cheque to buy the theatrical distribution rights of all the Bond movies in English as well as the dubbed versions in India and Sri Lanka.
"There is a whole generation which has not seen the old Bond movies. The plus point of those movies is that viewers will not be able to attribute Bond's magic to animation and graphics. They are so realistic," says Mohan. Not only that, as a genre Bond movies are simple, sexy, uncomplicated but has lots of sudden and curious twists and turns to have viewers at seat edges.
So come July 2003, one can see and hear the famous Bond, his beautiful heroine and dangerous villain talking in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu in The Spy Who Loved Me movie, starring Roger Moore.
According to Mohan, Gold Finger will be released after that. In all Mohan has secured the rights for 15 Bond movies and 15 various other movies produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), USA.
While dubbing of Hollywood movies in Indian languages is nothing new, it is not so in Sri Lanka. "I am taking a calculated risk in dubbing The Spy Who Loved Me movie in Sinhalese. Based on the success I will decide the future course of action with respect to the Sri Lankan market."
Meanwhile, Mohan is busy concluding sponsorship deals for promoting the dubbed Bond movie in India and overseeing the dubbing activity. "Nowadays the success of a film is partly based on the initial promos. Promos are okay for the first three days after the release. From the fourth day onwards, the film has to speak for itself," he says.
According to him special care is taken in dubbing activity. "Normally foreign films are dubbed in Indian languages in three days. But I will do it in eight days so that the dubbing quality is good."
Hollywood movies with its universal appeal are more suited for dubbing in Indian languages and for people living C category towns they are an attractive proposition. The success of dubbed Jurassic Park was the trend-setter and was followed by Titanic, The Mummy and Anaconda. And for movie houses like MGM, Paramount Pictures and others, dubbing opens up an entirely new market for dirt cheap costs.
Today even TV channels like Vijay TV, a Tamil channel, telecasts Tamil dubbed Jackie Chan movies.
"Not all Hollywood movies could be dubbed in Indian languages and even the producers don't like to do that. Some unscrupulous people do the dubbing with or without proper rights," tells Mohan. To add credence to this, there are couple of dubbed Hollywood films that have bombed though they succeeded in their original version.
Curiously, dubbing Hollywood movies is restricted to only three Indian languages - Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It is these three languages that contribute the majority of films produced in India.
Mohan, a producer of 19 movies (mainly Hindi language), is now engaged in importing movies and CDs. He is the Indian agent for Columbia Tristar. "I am now trying to dub some of the movies produced by Columbia Tristar," he says.