PC Ramakrishna’s is the voice you will hear on practically every Audio Visual produced out of Chennai. He has become the tried, the true and the most predictable voice over guy in the business. He’s got a good voice that he uses to great effect. But that effect has gone on for almost a couple of decades. Niladri Bose and Neelakanthan have emerged as the next generation. But they all try to master the ‘announcement’ mode of delivery. Deep voice rising to a crescendo every few sentences, almost as if every paragraph was a mini climax.
The problem is one of ignorance. Not too many people know that such a career is possible. So, the old guard holds steady. Experimentation is a complete no-no. How can we waste time over a new voice that needs several ‘takes’ to get even a sentence right? How will they maintain their voice at the same pitch level? Their intonation isn’t right. Their pronunciation leaves much to be desired.
So we have the same voices playing several roles. They vary the pitch and speed and try to pass of as younger or older characters. Is the paucity of good radio scripts the problem? Or are advertising agencies writing boring stuff because they think they can’t pull off something original?
Even Mumbai, which is the capital as far as most advertising commercial productions go, has its group of tried and tested voices. Chetan Shashitlal is the one exception. The man can change his voice and his tone faster than a chameleon. He can be the country bumpkin or the henpecked husband. He is the Hindi voice over for practically all the Disney dubbed versions of serials. And for ads where you require characters as opposed to the regular proclamation voice. ‘Introducing… blah, blah, blah
If it’s an English voice over that you want, there’s Nikhil Kapur. Or PP Bajaj. Both gravelly voiced ‘Darth Vader’ soundalikes.
In a country of over one billion people, where millions are employed by the BPO industry, it is amazing that we have so little to choose from. There are so many trainers available – they do everything from accent neutralization to teaching people who can barely speak English to converse in fluent ‘American’ I guess that is the next treasure trove agencies need to tap if they really want to make advertising sound more interesting.