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Interview with P Ravi Shankar
Date: January 12, 2009, Hyderabad
P Ravi  Shankar

P Ravi Shankar is a multi-talented artist. He started his career as hero and then shifted into the line of dubbing and completed 2600 films so far. He dubbed for almost all non-Telugu character artists and villains. He directed Kannada blockbuster Durgi. He penned dialogues for over 200 films. He can speak several languages fluently. His dubbing for 14 January release Arundhati is going to be a highlight. Here is an exclusive interview with P Ravi Shankar -

Tell us about your dubbing for Arundhati film?
Sonu Sood plays villain in the film. He would be visible only for 20% of his character’s time. His voice is heard for the remaining 80% of time. I am dubbing for Sonu Sood in this film. I have dubbed for 2600 films in the past 22 years in all South Indian languages. This is the most challenging work in Arundhati. I gave my heart and soul for this film. This movie runs on the voice of villain. Generally I take one day to dub for any film. But for Arundhati, I worked for over 14 days. My voice has gone sore for 5 times during this process.

What is special in Arundhati?
The involvement of Shyam is the one that drew into this project. I respect him a lot. Arundhati is the result of his 3 years of hard work. He is a disciplined man. The final product is amazing. This film has emotions in the right mixture and has extremely good visuals.

Tell us about Anushka?
So far we had seen only the glamour angle of Anushka. She is going to rock in Arundhati with her performance. She will become the part of every family of AP after the release of Arundhati.

Tell us about the graphics in Arundhati?
I need to give a special mention for the special effects guy Rahul. He is simply amazing and he is one of the few interesting men I met in film industry. He is passionate and he is hard working. He will have major contribution towards the success of Arundhati film.

Tell us about your entry as dubbing artist into Telugu film industry?
My father PJ Sharma is an actor and dubbing artist. He dubbed for the voice of Sivaji Ganesan in those days. My brother Sai Kumar entered in film industry as dubbing artist and became an actor later. I too wanted to become an actor. I made my debut as hero in R Narayana Murthy’s film Aalochinchandi (1986). I also did important roles in Madhura Nagarilo and Keechurallu. None of these characters clicked for me. I re-entered as an actor with Gopi Chand’s first film Toli Valapu in which I played villain. It did not do well at box office. I started my career with Srikanth, Ravi Teja, Srihari and Sivaji Raja. They all clicked and I had to go for dubbing profession.

Dubbing is my family profession and I started taking dubbing as a profession and dubbed my voice for Mohan Raj for Rowdyism Zindabad film. I dubbed for lots of villains and character artists from other languages like Raghuvaran, Mohan Raj, Devaraj, Charan Raj, Captain Raj, Nassar, Asish Vidyardhi, Prakash Raj (till Hitler film), Asutosh Rana, Sonu Sood, Mukesh Rushi, Pradeep Rawat etc.

I am happy that I am the superstar in my own field of dubbing. I dubbed for over 2600 films so far with 1000+ films each in Telugu and Tamil. I did around 150 films each and Kannada and Malayalam.

I won Nandi for 5 times. I won Tamil Nadu state award for my dibbing for Asish Vidyardhi character in Dil film. They gave me a gold medal that weighs 60 grams.

How did you learn so many languages?
I was brought up in Chennai. Being the film capital of South India, Chennai used to have the shoots of all south Indian languages. Hence I picked all the south Indian languages up.

Do you get due respect as a dubbing artist?
I get good treatment from Mumbai artists. But none of the South Indian artists to whom I dubbed for has any courtesy to acknowledge or thank my work. I did great work for Raghuvaran in Oke Okkadu film. He did not even call me and told me that my dubbing was good. Same is the case with all south Indian actors I dubbed for. I dubbed for Jackie Shroff for Ashtram film. He called me, came to my house and had dinner. All the north Indian artists who act in Telugu films give respect to dubbing artist and acknowledge our contribution towards their characters in the film.

Another request from my side is that the government should consider National award for dubbing artists. All state governments are giving awards to dubbing artists.

Tell us about your direction?
I directed only one Kannada film ‘Durgi’. It became a huge blockbuster. After that I provided story for NTR’s Narasimha. During that time I got directorial offers from big banners in Telugu film industry. Nobody touched me after the flop of Narasimha. That is how the industry operates. Then my mother passed away. I was completely disturbed and did not work for six months. I got my script ready now. I am planning to direct my next film in Tamil from August 2009.

Do you have any prior experience in direction?
I did not even assist a single film before making my debut Durgi. But my dubbing experience helped. I dubbed for thousands of films. Watching so many films in dubbing theaters helped me to pick up the techniques of direction.

What is your other expertise?
I am a dialogue writer too. I penned dialogues for 75 Telugu films and 150 Tamil films.

Who do you attribute your success as dubbing artist?
The only property my dad gave to us is voice. Using that voice I and my brother Sai Kumar made it big in our professions. The other reason why dubbing industry is flourishing in Telugu film industry is that the industry is not encouraging local talent. They are importing heroines, character artists and villains from other languages. The advent of non-Telugu actors in Telugu film started with my entrance as dubbing artist. And it gave me livelihood.

Don’t you get bored by dubbing for so many films?
No. I never took my dubbing profession beyond the dubbing theater. I owe my success to my family members. My wife Suchil Ravi Shankar is a Punjabi and she understands me completely. I am blessed with a fantastic son Adhvey Shankar who is in 10th standard now.

Tell us your top 10 works as a dubbing artist?

1. Shankar Dada MBBS (Paresh Rawal)
2. Indra (Mukesh Rushi)
3. Oke Okkadu (Raghuvaran)
4. Vikramarkudu (Vineeth Kumar & Ajay)
5. Azad (Raghuvaran)
6. Athadu (Sonu Sood, Charan Raj & Rahul Dev)
7. Pokiri (Nassar & Asish Vidyardhi)
8. Aggi (Amitab Bachchan)
9. Sye (Pradeep Rawat)
10. Simhadri (Nassar & Mukesh Rushi)

The other prominent films I did were Veede (Sayaji Shinde), Hitler (Prakash Raj), Satya (Manoj Bajpai), Venky (Asutosh Rana), Antham (Salim Gouse). There were instances where I dubbed for multiple roles in the same film.

Today you got your 5th Nandi award. Tell us about that?
This is my fifth Nandi award. I got this award for my dubbing work for Murali Sharma who acted as villain in Athidi film. Incidentally Murali Sharma also got an award as the best villain. I also dubbed for Asish Vidyardhi for the same film. It feels good. I am doing a challenging work for my current film Arundhati. I am expecting an award for my dubbing (for Sonu Sood) for Arundhati in the next edition of awards. I got Nandi awards for Indra, Pokiri, Sye.

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