August 12, 2016
With Tamil TV channels increasingly opting to air dubbed serials, thousands connected with Tamil entertainment industry are out of jobs. They would like the channels to give preference to original Tamil serials so that they are not robbed of their livelihood
Chennai: Dubbed versions of Hindi, Korean and other language TV serials have have knocked out Tamil television soap operas out of the small screens in the state, and throwing thousands out of work in the process.
Producers, directors, actors and technicians engaged in the Tamil serial business are fast losing work as cheaper dubbed serials displace the relatively expensive-to-make local language serials on TV channels.
At a rough count, close to 20,000 people are affected by this localizing “imported” content by television channels that cite cost-cutting as one of the reasons for choosing this option.
A few months ago, a Tamil serial director, Balaji Yadav had committed suicide. He was out of work and was depressed too.
Kavitha Bharathy, writer of famous Tamil serial “Chitti” that was telecast some three years ago, said that her last serial “Saubhagyavati” in Malayalam was in August last year. Since then I have no work,” says the writer, who is also the president of Federation of Small Screen Technicians, Tamil Nadu (FESST).
Many technicians, actors and creative people are unable to make their ends meet, he said, adding “we hope that the television channels listen to our plea and start using original Tamil language serials.
At present only 40 per cent of the slots of serials on Tamil channels are made in Tamil. Rest all are dubbed Hindi or other language serials.
Each serial replaced affects the livelihood of at least 200 people, and more as well, Bharathy said.
Out of work and facing uncertain future, the TV creative industry was shocked out of its existence by the suicide of TV serial director Balaji Yadav, who took his life as he was unable to repay the huge debt he incurred due to his unemployment.
Unions connected with Tamil television entertainment industry want the Tamil Nadu government to put a cap on the number of dubbed serials that can be aired by the channels, like the Andhra Pradesh government or a complete ban on dubbing serials or films in Karnataka.
Said HR Selvaraj, president of dubbing artists union and secretary, Film Employees’ Federation of South India (FEFSI) “we had approached all the private television channels to support Tamil language serials.”
The reason for channels’ preference for Hindi serials is purely economic.
While a Tamil serial costs from Rs 60,000 to Rs 2 lakh to make, the dubbed versions of costly Hindi serials made at less than Rs 50 lakh are cheaper to telecast. The dubbed version of a serial is available for Rs 10,000 per episode.
Besides, the Tamil producers cannot match or complete with Hindi serial makers when it comes to grandeur, scale and production qualities.
“This economics of it all is killing the local TV entertainment industry and unless the TV channels and the state government intervene, it would be difficult to carry on,” several engaged in the profession lament.