Why Break the Bond?
As the voices behind many famous faces, dubbing artistes have their rights too.
I was dismayed to read a recent news report about how a senior dubbing artist, named Nikki van der Zyl, has been disinvited from attending the 50-year celebrations of the James Bond franchise. This lady, who has dubbed for a series of iconic 007 heroines, beginning with Ursula Andress, has been informed that she is no longer welcome at the festivities simply because one Bond girl, Shirley Eaton, who has a Cockney accent, doesn't want the dubbing artiste to steal her thunder.
Ms. van der Zyl worked on the very first Bond film, Dr. No in 1962 right up to Moonraker in 1979. Over the years, viewers have encountered characters such as Pussy Galore, Honey Ryder, Kissy Suzuki, Plenty O'Toole, Solitaire, Mary Goodnight, Holly Goodhead and Chew Mee in Bond films. One may be excused for thinking that these femme fatales, who 007 seduced over his many years in Her Majesty's faithful service, were screen names of adult film actresses. These campy, sexist names are indicative of just how politically incorrect the early Bond films were. For an aging Bond heroine to deny a dubbing artiste her moment under the spotlight after so many years, is downright mean-spirited.
Dubbing artistes rarely, if ever, get their due. They are the faceless, nameless, uncredited specialists who give voice to stunning divas who look luminescent on-screen but either cannot speak the language or have weak diction and modulation.
There is a long tradition of dubbing the voices of Hindi film heroines. Some of our actors have strong regional accents such as Tamil, Bengali, Marathi and Haryanvi, and therefore, require a professional to step in and save the day. Interestingly, Sridevi,
Kajol, Ameesha Patel, Rani Mukerji, Bipasha Basu, Lara Dutta, Deepika Padukone have all had their voices dubbed at some point in their careers.
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