Producers, directors, actors and technicians engaged in the Tamil television business are losing work as cheaper dubbed Hindi serials have displaced the relatively expensive local language serials on TV channels, throwing people out of work.
Over the past three years or so, roughly a little over half the TV serials telecast by local channels are the dubbed versions of big budget Hindi serials. Owing to this steep decline in number of serials being telecast, hundreds of people connected with them are out of work and face an uncertain future.
Their plight was highlighted by the suicide of Balaji Yadav, director of a television serial, who took his life as he was unable to repay the huge debt he had mounted due to unemployment.
Unions connected with Tamil television entertainment industry have urged the Tamil Nadu government to put a cap on the number of dubbed serials that can be telecast by the channels, like in Andhra Pradesh or a complete ban on dubbing serials or films in Karnataka. On Wednesday, unions connected with TV entertainment industry, observed a day-long token strike to seek a cap on dubbed serials on local channels.
Ekk Nayi Pehchaan is dubbed as Puthu Puthu Arthangal for Tamil audience.
HR Selvaraj, president of dubbing artists union and Film Employees’ Federation of South India (FEFSI) secretary said the workers of all the entertainment industry related unions observed a one day token strike on Wednesday, seeking government intervention on the crucial livelihood issue. "We have approached all the six private television channels with a request to come out with a concrete plan to support Tamil language serials," Selvaraj said adding "we are also seeking time from the chief minister to intervene in this matter. We will wait for the reaction of the private channels response till 10 days and then take a decision on how to carry forward our protests," Selvaraj said.
The reason is purely one of costs. While a Tamil serial costs from Rs 60,000 to Rs 2 lakh to make, the dubbed versions of costly Hindi serials made at Rs 50 lakh are cheaper to telecast. Besides, the Tamil producers cannot match or complete with Hindi serial makers when it comes to grandeur, scale and production qualities, Selvaraj said.
The dubbed version of a serial is available for Rs 10,000 per episode. "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," Selvaraj added.