You are not an aspiring actor unless you have tried your hand at an Amitabh Bachchan imitation. From radio to ads to comedy shows, good/bad/downright criminal copies of his voice and mannerisms are everywhere, and he is not alone. Many actors and celebrities are spoofed or have their voices pretty much everyday- in fact, so often that we barely notice any more.
But recently, Big B took deep umbrage at a gutka company copying his voice for their advertisement, especially for someone who does not smoke or propagate smoking or any kind of intoxicant, by keeping away from endorsing such products, it is most disgusting to find someone conflagrating the law of the land and the law of ethics. He wrote online. He is also said that he is going to copyright his voice so that it is not copied in this manner anymore.
KIS KIS KI COPY?
He is probably the most imitated star, but there are a bunch of others but there are a bunch of others whom we have heard being spoofed endlessly over the years in both commercial and noncommercial spoofs. These remain the favorites when it comes to copies. People like Sanjeev Kumar, Shotgun, Dadamuni, Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan remain the most copied stars these days there is nobody really worth imitating or with a distinctive style, expect maybe Shah Rukh Khan. Actors are very mechanical these days. DU student Samridhi Kapoor also members Sunny Deol being copied sometimes, besides big B and other older stars, and adman Prahlad Kakar says Big B, Sachin Tendulkar, SRK, Shatrugan and Sunny Deol are copied often. Adman Piyush Pandey adds Asrani to the list.
RIGHT YA WRONG?
But while we all enjoy the hum-our when these stars or their voices are copied for spoofs, admen, mimics and audiences all agree that when used for commercial gain without consent, mimicking a voice like that is unfair. Amitabh Bachchan is absolutely right. He is recognized by his voice. It is his signature. I mean, when someone does a thin-voiced imitation of a cricketer, we all know whom they are copying. If big B gets his voice copyrighted, he can sue people like those gutka manufacturers, which he can not do otherwise. It is alright if you are copying a star for a spoof or for the purpose of programming, but when you are doing it to sell product, even if it is a spoof, that is wrong. When it is all fun and games, you can spoof even Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. They do not have a copyright law for voices yet, but if Big B gets his voice copyrighted. He will be the first one and he will be bang on, He is any case overused by the industry. While the legalities are still not clear, it is fair if he is angry. Voices can be copied but if they are attributed to the star and used for personal gain, how do you prove it was not them?
That is unfair in cases like these to use mimicry for commercial gain without the star’s knowledge or permission, he sounds a note of caution about overdoing the permission bit. “God has given us this talent not everyday can mimic people well enough to make a living from it. If they want us to stop mimicry and spoofing altogether, they will have to compensate us for the money we had lose from not practicing skills we have perfected over years. Humour should not be interfered with. Famous people are always imitated it is the best form of flattery.