Friday, November 30th, 2018 “English is so precise and Hindi can be so heavy!": Language Ideologies and Audience Imaginaries in a Mumbai Dubbing Studio

Friday, November 30, 20184:00PM - 6:00PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place



Since 1994, when Jurassic Park was dubbed into Hindi and enjoyed unparalleled commercial success for a Hollywood film in India, the number of Hollywood films dubbed into Hindi and released in the Indian market has been steadily increasing. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in a dubbing studio in Mumbai observing Hollywood films being dubbed into Hindi, as well as participation in the dubbing of an original Netflix series from Hindi to English, this talk examines the language ideologies about Hindi and English that are articulated, performed, and manifest during the dubbing process. It describes the varied ways that voice artists and dubbing directors navigate and negotiate the complex act of rendering dialogue in Hindi when the original lines are written in English and vice versa. It illustrates how the production of dubbed media is a rich site to examine questions of legitimate language, socio-economic change, social imaginaries of difference, and ideas of belonging in contemporary India.


Tejaswini Ganti is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and core faculty in its Program in Culture & Media at New York University. She is the author of Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry (Duke University Press 2012) and Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema (Routledge 2004; 2nd edition 2013). Her current research examines the politics of language and translation within the Hindi film industry and the formalization of film training through film schools in India.


Tejaswini Ganti
Associate Professor, New York University

Christoph Emmrich
Director, Centre for South Asian Studies


Centre for South Asian Studies


Cinema Studies Institute

Department of Visual Studies

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