She is a voice-over artist as well as an actor. It’s a tough job to be successful in one career while Mamta Gurnani juggles two and does them both eloquently well. IAD catches up with Mamta to discuss ads, voice-overs and surviving in this industry.
Tell us more about the voice-over industry; how competitive is it?
The growth of the media industry in India in the last few years has led to the popularity and demand of voice-over artists. A serious full time career in voice-over is growing at a rapid pace. Voice-overs are needed in just about every market there is including audiobooks, cartoons, documentaries, internet, jingles, telephone, movie trailers, radio, and television. We are required to give life to characters, tell a story or direct telephone calls. The competition is stiffer than ever; there are more voice actors than there are jobs. It’s incredibly competitive but also fascinating!
How do you take care of your voice?
Honestly I think I don’t do enough to take care of my voice. I over use my vocal chords. I end up talking a lot. My phone conversations are too many and too long. I also end up yelling often which is actually a strict no for any voice-over artist. However, I have been practicing power yoga for 8 years. Breathing exercises are definitely good for the vocal chords. I avoid fried or junk food, tea, coffee, soft drinks as it makes your voice dry and am always well hydrated.
You are a voice-over artist as well as an actor. Does one art support the other and how?
Of course! I would like to give you an example- As we all are aware, that dubbed content has grown at a rapid pace over the years, from almost being non-existent to a mega industry. Most of the big blockbusters are dubbed in Indian languages and so are most of the cartoon, animation and hit television series. I would say that voice acting is an equally difficult job; it’s an audio-visual experience where you only have your voice to emote unlike acting. Being a fine actor helps bring nuance to a voice over.
Your favourite voice-over and videos of the voice-overs that you’ve done so far?
Variety in voice-over jobs is immense. I love to play parts of other age groups or which require a different accent. There are various individuals or teams involved like ad agencies, producers, writers, studios, studio engineers, co-voice artists and I thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie and the actual process. Each one of them plays a vital role either in the creative or technical department. I have thoroughly enjoyed some films dubbing – World War Z, Thor; I’m looking forward to the release of this film called San Andreas which will be releasing on 29th May in India. Other include Reliance Digital (radio ad), it has always been a special project for me. This campaign won a Golden Mike award in 2014. I also did a professional stint with Radiocity, Mumbai, as an RJ and sometimes really miss being on air. I miss the intimacy of that medium and interacting with the people.
As a modern day working woman in the showbiz industry, what are some of the challenges you have to face?
Fair remuneration and recovery of dues is still a major concern. The industry has grown but unfortunately the remuneration has not increased to match the budgets and profits. I believe that we are overlooked quite often. For instance, we are rarely invited for the success parties of the films/TV series we worked on or sometimes if an ad or a promo wins some prestigious award, the production sometimes simply don’t bother informing us.
We have access to a market that is booming. But as an artist, I feel that on the content side, there are inconsistencies. Some of the production houses/companies/producers involved don’t place a high value on a premium artist. They would rather compromise on the voice quality. It is also super competitive; there was once a time when unknown actors or voice talents could play leading parts in the dubbed Hollywood movies. That is not the case anymore.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
Balancing the demands of your personal and professional life is difficult for many, but I manage it very well. I make sure I spend quality time with my family. My weekends are generally reserved for movies/plays/shopping/dinners. I love to cook and feed my loved ones and I keep exploring new food joints in Mumbai or some other city when I am on a holiday.
Showreel as Voice Over artist:
UTV Stars TV Shivi (model: Jayashree Venketaramanan):
WhiteTone (model: Vaishali Desai):
Playing Bindumati from Lapataganj on Sab TV:
Playing Maina in Chidiya Ghar on Sab TV:
Singh Saab the Great trailer (voice of Urvashi Rautela):
Thor Movie (voice of the lead actress):
We would love to listen to Mamta Gurnani! You can follow her on Twitter too.