We have been listening to the debates about dubbing in Kannada on TV and Social media and the various points that have been raised in these debates both for and against dubbing, those against dubbing are divided into two categories, first is so called intellectuals, who seem to give sensible reasons at the outset which after some thought seem unfounded, 2nd group is from the commerce minded group of the film industry and the reason they give is wrt to the commercial aspects i.e., jobs/scope of work etc etc. So let us analyse the logic (or the lack of it) behind the people who are against dubbing.
1) So called Intellectuals:
Though the group is small, and points raised by this group might seem plausible at the outset but a little thought and you will realize that the so called intellectuals and their thoughts are either driven by their ego or ignorance and the folly that most of these so called intellects is that they consider themselves intelligent and all other as dumb and that somehow the common man has no intelligence to decide what’s good/bad for him.
Take the example of Beesu Suresh, the film-maker who has argued against dubbing, according to him, if we allow dubbing even in TV it’s like a virus and before you know Kannada language is lost forever, and the way he presents his argument seem sensible in the beginning (even I felt so), like he believes that dubbing is un-natural and it will destroy the sensibilities of Kannada and Kannadigas as we will have suit the language according to the lip movement of a different language. The argument might seem based in reason for some but further analysis leads you to realize that it’s totally unfounded, for that you have ask the question: where is the proof?, dubbing of non-local language movies have been going on in many European countries and in many other parts of the world, can Mr Beesu Suresh give any proof where the sensibilities of locals has been lost/destroyed by dubbing? Its been more that 50yrs in many countries since dubbing has been allowed surely we would know the ill effects of dubbing at least now, in fact in many countries dubbing is used as a tool to promote local language, does Mr Suresh have any answer to this, he seems to be driven by his ego and ignorance rather than facts and reason. Another reason given is that it will be imposition of other cultures on ours, seriously this is a flawed argument, first of all how different is the culture of different languages in our country? Do people in Maharashtra or any other state follow something that’s totally against Kannada culture? This argument falls flat in the Indian context, but yes if we look at foreign movies then there is some concern about it, which can be addressed easily by censor board which is already doing that.
2) Commercial elements in KFI:
The second group has been arguing that if we allow dubbing into Kannada what will the thousands of people who are dependent on KFI do for a living, and that we will lose all our jobs and it will mean the end of KFI, and whenever possible they give the example of matinee idol Dr Rajkumar and how we have follow his footsteps as he was against dubbing.
Let us analyse each point here, the first argument is about loss of job because of dubbing, and yes there is truth in his point, but what needs to be seen is whether interest of group of people is bigger than the interest of the whole, because we all know the state of Kannada in Karnataka today, people are drifting away from Kannada and leaning other languages, in fact most middle class and a majority of upper middle class converses in English, for them speaking Kannada is uncool and down market, any Kannadiga can tell you that the language and number of speaker is in decline, so by allowing dubbing movies and TV channels we will at least make people listen to the language there by keeping Kannada in our minds, and yes by allowing dubbing it will impact the Kannada entertainment industry, but that’s the necessity of today, if we want to save Kannada then we have to take harsh measures, and if we think like some narrow minded people in the industry then Kannada will soon remain in book and not in conversations, and without Kannada there will be no KFI either, if Kannada is saved KFI can be remade.
The common point that people of KFI talk about is how Dr Rajkumar was opposed to dubbing and that allowing dubbing now is going against his wishes, wow this seems ridiculous since people of KFI have forgotten what Dr Rajkumar stood for , for instance Dr.Rajkumar never acted in any other language except Kannada, so does that mean Kannada actors who act in other languages are going against Dr Raj’s ideals? Also would Annavru have wanted KFI to produce so many machchu longu movies and worse remake so many movies from other languages? Anybody who knows the legend would agree that all that KFI is doing is going against his ideals, and let’s not forget the reason behind Dr Raj’s decision to support dubbing ban, it was time to build Kannada film industry, which so much dependent on Madras at that time(sadly it still is as far as production post production goes), it was time of establishing a Kannada identity, the ban on dubbing was justified then, but it’s been 50yrs surely it’s a time to rethink about the decision take decades back, and believe me it will not the an insult to the legends, the legends would not have envisioned that KFI would become still water, but would have thought of it as a flowing river. So KFI stop using names of legends for advance your selfish motives, you had enough time to build a flourishing industry you failed, its time to do something different.
Nobody who supports dubbing is against Kannada Films/Entertainment industry in fact Kannadigas want KFI to grow and reach to the level it so very well deserves; but it’s just that we see a bigger picture especially on the real threat to Kannada language than those who are against dubbing who are blinded either by the money aspect or some irrational threat to culture/language that dubbing will supposedly cause, shortsightedness won’t help instead we have to accept the challenges and take competition head on, I have faith in Kannada talent, we are very open minded people we accept all people and cultures in all other spheres of society, which is sadly lacking in many other Indian states, we should stop acting like we are scared about anything and accept the challenges that we Kannadigas and Kannada face today, and if we do if not today or tomorrow then some day in the future will keep our heads high and keep Kannada flying higher.