In another voice
Keshav P Koirala
Though Nepali film industry is familiar with narrations by an unseen speaker or with some preludes, the art of voice-over emerged as a profession in the wake of revolution in television broadcasting. Whether it is video jingles or a prelude for commercials, voice-overs are a must. Tele-films, documentaries and advertisements have made voice-overs an essential part of most visuals. Voice-over is narration in a film/ documentary/ commercials, not accompanied by an image of the speaker. However, nowadays it has been to some extent, linked to the imitation of voice of celebrities. If commercials done by a celebrity in one language have to be broadcast in another, then the voice-over comes into play. S/he matches the voice and the style of speaking along with the visual. Saroj Dutta of Thompson Nepal Limited has been in this field for the last three years. “One who can modulate his voice and has depth in his voice is fit for voice-overs,” says Dutta. Voice-over talent is one thing and getting jobs is another. Warm-ups and special voice exercises are a must for those who want to pursue it as a profession. One of the essential skills is the ability to communicate effectively. Delving into history Radio Nepal, established in 1950, gave authority to staffers to manage advertisements in 1967 and later a separate department was commissioned to look after it in 1984. In 1960, the professional advertisers established an organisation Nepal Advertisers, the first advertising agency in the country. After the establishment of Nepal Printing and Advertising Agency began the competition between the agencies. It used to look after advertisements of RNAC and Janakpur Cigarette Factory.
Nepal Television established in 1986 became a good platform for advertisers, producers and to artistes. “There are a lot of advertising agencies, most take the contract for radio or television ads, but all of them are not the ad-producers,” says Ravi Shrestha of Echo Advertising Agency. Voice-over in Nepali films Noted producer and film director, Yuvaraj Lama, says that dubbing of the film is done on the proper understanding between the actor and the director if needed. “If the voice of the actor or the actress does not match to his/her looks and the flow of the story, if the actor or actress goes abroad and the film is to be completed on time, we do voice-overs.” In the films ‘Kusume Rumaal’, ‘Koselee’ and ‘Lahure’, Bharati Ghimire dubbed for Tripti Naadkar. In ‘Saino’, Meera Madhuri did for Tripti. Tulsi Ghimire used to lend his voice to many artistes. Later, because of his unique and easily recognisable voice, he had to limit it. Nowadays, he voices-over only when the real artiste is unavailable.
In films Shubhakamana and JeevanRekha, Tarun Amatya voiced-over Amrit Lama In ‘Bhai Tika’, Ravi Shrestha voiced-over for Shree Krishna Shrestha, in ‘Jeevan Saathi’ Shreesha Karki voiced-over for Jharana. Anju Deuja voices-over for many actresses.Safar’s journey One day Vithya from Kathmandu was thrilled to see her favourite Amitabh Bachchan in a commercial speaking in Nepali. “That too with such a perfect diction!” Not only Vithya, but also most audience do not know it is not Bachchan’s voice in the Nepali version of Dabur Chyawanprash’s commercials. Safar, an RJ-cum-computer professional, lent his voice for the ad.
For some of the FM-crazies of Kathmandu, neither is Safar a new name, nor is his voice unfamiliar. “Though I used to imitate voices of many artistes and popular leaders from my school days, I had never imagined to voice-over a celebrity like Amitabh for business purpose,” he says. Recently an advertisement sought those who can voice-over for Amitabh. Safar contacted the advertisers and told them that he can — in Bachchan’s style. He was called. Once there he felt he would succeed seeing the array of famous professionals from the field of caricature, voice-over and voice-imitation. In the voice-test, “they gave me a piece of dialogue and asked to deliver it within the limited time-frame in lip sync with the visual. Some of the words were not Nepali so I had to find the words in Nepali that would fit the lip movement,” he adds. “It was not difficult for me to speak in Amitabh’s voice but for the lip movement sinking the voice into the video was challenging.” He has done some four voice-overs for the same product since then and more products are on the anvil.