Photographs: Rajul Hegde
Singers Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan lent their voice for the Hindi version of Rio, a 3D animation film, that released last week. Apart from dubbing the dialogues in Hindi for the lead characters Blu and Jewel respectively, the singers have also sung songs for the film.
In conversation with Rajul Hegde, Shaan speaks about his experience of working on an animation flick, his children and reality television.
What made you lend your voice to Rio?
Actually while singing for this film, I was asked whether I would be interested in giving a voiceover for the film. I was impressed when I saw the rushes of the film so I agreed. The film has mix of comedy, adventure and thriller.
What was the experience like?
I wouldn't say it was easy but I had a great time dubbing and singing because it was challenging, interesting and fun. I completed dubbing in three sessions in a day and a half. As a viewer I would say that it's a terrific film and it will be enjoyed not only by children but also by people of all ages. The wonderful thing about this film is that even if you saw it in English, you will still enjoy it without knowing the language.
'I've tried to be responsible with Rio as a father'
Are you open to doing more voiceovers for films?
Yes. But it's not a career option or something I'd take up full time. If it's fun, I am open to it.
How did your kids react to your being associated with an animation film?
Oh they were thrilled. My kids love watching English cartoons and kids' movies but I'm going to encourage them to watch more stuff in Hindi.
In Rio's case, they don't really have a choice as it's their dad's film.
Normally, when an English animation film is dubbed in Hindi, it's far too literally translated. And in a desperate bid to make it entertaining for children, filmi voices and slangs are incorporated mindlessly.
Knowing that Rio is a kids' film, I made sure that we act a little responsibly, at least through my character. We have tried to keep it genuine yet make it funny.
'Talent shows have become single-dimensional'
Are you a strict father?
I would like to be a strict father but no matter how hard I try, I fail. My kids are wonderful but I am trying hard to be a little strict with them (laughs).
You disappeared from television after Music Ka Maha Muqabala.
I have been a part of reality shows for the last eight years. There is nothing that I haven't experienced already. I'd decided early on in my career that I wouldn't do anything that would get boring. At that moment, I wasn't enjoying television much. Today, hosting has become such a mechanical thing, you are given a tele-prompter and micro chips unlike before.
Now it's all about looking at the camera, saying a few lines and reacting in a certain way. It started becoming single-dimensional and I wasn't excited about that. I liked Maha Muqabala though and would love to do it again.
'I'm happy that I'm not a part of the reality shows trend'
Thanks to reality shows, even singers have a high visibility these days. Your thoughts on this trend?
It's a very good thing because singers put in a lot of hard work and effort.
According to me, you can have an actor a day but a genuine singer comes along only once in a while. Singers need to get their due. Today, thanks to quick cuts and other cinematic techniques, there are millions of non-actors out there who are successful. The same can be true for singers too. With today's technology -- for instance, pitch correction and voice modulation, correction machines -- there are probably many non-singers who are successful in singing.
The true test is while performing. When it comes to live shows, there are only a handful of us who can deliver a good performance. Pitch-corrected singers fall flat during live shows. It is sad that talented honest singers are not getting the kind of work they deserve.
People seem to be enjoying this new trend and I am happy that I am not a part of it.
Any private albums in the offing?
At the moment, I am not inspired to come out with an album. I enjoy whatever work I get as a singer. The music companies are uninterested and I am used to being pampered. But sooner or later I will have to (laughs).