Tamil Nadu is one of the biggest dubbing markets for Hollywood films in India. Hollywood studios hit a goldmine in the 1990s when English action-packed extravaganzas, dubbed into Tamil, became box-office hits. Soon Bollywood too tried to enter this market.
Some years back Rajshri Pictures dubbed a few of their hit films into Tamil, but it did not work. Soon after, Subash Ghai dubbed his Taal into Tamil, riding on AR Rahman’s local connect. However, the market received a big boost only when Hrithik Roshan’s Krissh 3 and Aamir Khan’s Dhoom 3, which were dubbed into Tamil, went on to succeed at the box-office.
Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Screengrab from YouTube
The normal Hindi film is watched only in the Chennai multiplexes, its suburbs and Coimbatore. The growth of the IT, auto industry, and the rise of migrant workers from Bihar and UP in mainly the real estate construction business, has given a big boost to Hindi films in Tamil Nadu. Thanks to social media, Hindi cinema has become popular with the city based Tamil youth.
Bollywood producers have been wanting to increase the penetration of the dubbing market. They wanted to target the audiences in B and C towns of Tamil Nadu, where there seems to be a market for dubbed films. However, only star-studded, action packed Hindi films like Dhoom 3 or a Bang Bang, when they are dubbed into Tamil, have succeeded. At the same time Tamil television channels are flooded with dubbed versions of popular Hindi serials.
A lot was riding on Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, which was dubbed into Tamil and released by Fox Star Studios, along with the original Hindi version. Out of 110 screens, only 65 were playing the Tamil version across Tamil Nadu. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo original Hindi version has opened well in the Tamil Nadu multiplexes, but its dubbed Tamil version did not do too well. Infact, distributors were reluctant to reveal any sort of box-office numbers regarding the Tamil dub of PRDP, claiming it to be that bad.
A veteran distributor and exhibitor from Trichy talks to Firstpost about the fate of the tamil dub of PRDP, “ It was a big mistake to dub Prem Ratan Dhan Payo in Tamil, because of the cultural differences and lack of nativity. The film set in what looks like princely Rajasthan had no connect with the local Tamil audiences. In Tamil Nadu, only action packed Hindi films have had a market and can succeed in the dubbing market. Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots and PK have done record business in Tamil Nadu, but it never had a Tamil dubbed version.”
There were rumours earlier that Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale will be dubbed into Tamil, as Rohit Shetty’s last filmChennai Express in Hindi did extraordinary business in the state. Meanwhile, it looks like for the time being there will not be any more Tamil dubbed versions of Hindi films after the PRDP fiasco.
Source - first post