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I believe dubbing for Jack Black is like a training session for me: Prasad Barve says on dubbing for Kung Fu Panda for many years

Versatile actor Prasad Barve has been dubbing for the famous character of Po in Kung Fu Panda for many years now. He has been in the dubbing industry for the last 30 years and has dubbed for Hollywood films like Spiderman (the character Ned), Ant-Man, Harry Potter, and many more. Various television shows like The Pokémon show (as Ash), Scooby-Doo, Mickey Mouse, Vegeta for Dragon Ball Z, which is immensely popular among youth, the character Perman from Perman have got their voices from Prasad.

Sharing his excitement for Kung Fu Panda 4, which is releasing on March 15th, Prasad says, “Kung Fu Panda is always a challenge because the character is really funny, lovable, and immensely liked by the kids. In a way, he is a superhero. You can say he does all mischievous things, comical things, but in the end, he turns out to be the hero. Though he doesn’t look like it, he is hero material for me. One of the challenges is to dub in Hindi – the language change should not destroy the humour. So when we localize it with the regional language we make sure that the same essence is there in the Hindi version also. We have a strong team of directors who help me to capture the essence of the original English version. We make every effort to retain the flavor of the jokes in Hindi as well.”

Interestingly little kids who actually started watching Kung Fu Panda right from the beginning, have become big now. I have been part of all those shows for around 8 to 10 years.“Prasad also adds,”The main challenge in Kung Fu Panda is to match the energy level of the character. That is one thing which I find really, really challenging. Although Kung Fu Panda may seem like a simple character, when you start dubbing for it, you realize how many variations this character has. Sometimes he speaks very loudly, and suddenly his energy drops. Sometimes he’s very happy, and the very next moment he’s very sad. These sudden changes in expression are also challenging for me as an artist.”

Prasad also shares his view on the legendary actor and dubbing artist Jack Black. He says, “I must admit that dubbing for Jack Black is the toughest thing because of the kind of energy this guy has; it’s simply amazing. There is a lot to learn from him. Essentially, he is an actor who has done voice overs. So, to match his energy level and the kind of madness he has put into this character is incredible. I think the credit for the success of Kung Fu Panda definitely goes to one and only Jack Black. I would say he’s been living this character for ages, even in his dreams. And of course, to their direction and writing teams as well. If you ask him to say one dialogue of Po, he would say it with the same energy, effortlessly. After dubbing for Po for so many years, I feel Jack Black is equal to Po and now, in Hindi, it is equal to Prasad Barve with all kinds of weirdest, funniest, and dramatic things, and the changes and variations he has in his voice and expressions. Matching those expressions is a challenging thing. He’s really superb, fantastic, fantabulous, phenomenal. words will always fall short. I’m speechless when I speak about him.”

Talking about the process he follows for dubbing, Prasad adds, “There is minimal pre-dubbing work, at least for the series we dub. The main preparation involves clearing auditions, particularly for series like Kung Fu Panda. When I first received the project, I had to match the performance of the main character dubbed in English or any other foreign language being translated into Hindi. The pre-work occurs during auditions, where we are given limited time to perform. Typically, we are shown an audition clip and expected to perform immediately, sometime within half an hour. This audition performance determines whether we clear the audition or not. The challenge lies in matching the foreign performance and delivering quality while doing justice to the character. However, when it comes to original animation series, such as those currently being produced in India, there is extensive preparation involved. This includes studying the characters, bringing them to life, and conducting rehearsals and reading sessions. Discussions revolve around character characteristics, appearance, and voice, sometimes influencing each other. In essence, the preparation is much more involved for original animation projects. As for dubbing, the preparation time is relatively short. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to be well-prepared before embarking on any dubbing work.”

Prasad is content when it comes to his 30 years of experience as a dubbing artist. He adds, “I am deeply honored and delighted to receive such overwhelming responses from the audience and my fans. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a part of this industry, especially considering how our profession was relatively unknown to many people in the past. Although our work has been appreciated by many for decades, it wasn’t widely recognized in the media due to its limited reach at the time. However, with the advent of social media, our profession has become more accessible and visible to everyone. Nowadays, people are more aware of who we are, what we do, and for how long we’ve been doing it. Consequently, we receive numerous reactions from various social platforms, both positive and negative, and we must learn to handle them all.”

Prasad has been part of some popular shows like Shrimaan Shrimati Phir Se, Baalveer, Dill Mill Gayye, Chidiya Ghar, Sajan Re Phir Jhooth Mat Bolo.

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