Standing out as a Hindi voiceover artist, Sanket Mhatre has breathed life into some of the most popular characters in movies and drama shows.
His body of works includes giving voice to Ben Tennyson in Ben 10: Alien Force and Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool, playing Sasuke Uchiha in the Hindi-dubbed version of Naruto, and dubbing in Hindi for many prominent South Indian actors, including Allu Arjun. He recently made his mark in the Netflix live-action adaptation of One Piece, where he skillfully voiced Roronoa Zoro.
Mhatre was in Bhubaneswar to attend an event. On its sidelines, Sunday POST caught up with him for a breezy chat.
What do you prepare to act for multiple characters?
Each character presents a unique challenge. Take Ben 10, for instance; it required me to elevate my voice beyond my usual range. Transforming into the alien forced me to experiment with diverse vocal textures I hadn’t explored before. Deadpool pushed me out of my comfort zone, compelling me to engage in acting and improvisation in novel ways. When approaching a new character, I maintain an open mindset, often allowing the character to guide me and reveal how its voice should manifest.
What motivated you to pursue a career in voice acting?
For the past 18 years, I’ve immersed myself in the world of Voice Artistry, a journey I stumbled upon by chance, finding myself in the right place at the right time. Despite the accidental entry, this path has proven immensely satisfying, shaping me into a better version of myself each day. Voice acting, discovered unexpectedly, has become a passion, akin to the thrill of performing on stage. It allows me to inhabit a myriad of characters, offering a unique opportunity to delve into diverse worlds and cultures. What drives me is the daily chance to embody someone new, transcending physical appearances and backgrounds—where the voice becomes the sole instrument of expression and storytelling.
What were the challenges you faced as a voice actor in India?
For an extended period, voice artists operated in obscurity, hidden in the shadows of recording studios. Only recently, thanks to the rise of social media, have they stepped into the spotlight. Freelance voice artists in India find themselves multitasking as managers, accountants, and social media handlers. Navigating challenges like negotiating rates and ensuring timely payments is part of the journey. Yet, overcoming these obstacles opens the door to a profoundly fulfilling career. And at AniMetro, an event featuring voice artists as guests, experiencing love and appreciation from fans proves to be an unparalleled reward.
How do you see anime influencing and impacting global pop culture, and what makes it so appealing to a diverse audience?
Anime’s profound influence on global pop culture is undeniable. Its universal appeal lies in catering to diverse tastes, offering intricate plots for enthusiasts and lighthearted moments for casual viewers. The lasting impact stems from the ability to create deep connections, as fans follow anime for years, forming an enduring bond. As this art form evolves, consistently aligning with changing preferences, it becomes ingrained in one’s identity. Anime isn’t just entertainment; it becomes a timeless companion, adapting to individuals as they grow.
How was your experience at the anime event in Bhubaneswar?
I was pleasantly surprised by the warm reception in Bhubaneswar. Having participated in two events prior to the Anime-Fest in Odisha, both in metropolitan cities, I approached with modest expectations, eager to connect with passionate Anime fans. To my delight, there was a substantial crowd of almost 350-400 people! Fans had journeyed from locations 60-70 kilometres away to join the festival. It turned out to be a fantastic event where we interacted with numerous fans, took countless selfies, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Receiving such love and appreciation for my craft is something every artist cherishes. Additionally, the event was exceptionally well organised, and I am confident that there will be many more such events in Odisha, likely on a much grander scale.
Do you have a favourite anime character that you’ve voiced? If so, why?
Lately, one of my most fulfilling accomplishments has been providing the voice for ‘Roronoa Zoro’ in the Netflix adaptation of One Piece. Having been a fan of the manga and admiring the character of Zoro for some time, I had envisioned a particular voice quality for him even before delving into Anime. When auditions for the role came around, I seized the opportunity and was thrilled to discover that my voice had been accepted. Voicing Zoro was a truly enjoyable experience, and I took great pleasure in bringing the live-action version of this beloved character to Hindi-speaking audiences.
Are there any anime characters you would love to voice in the future?
I aspire to lend my voice to a plethora of Anime characters. Whether it’s embodying the intensity of Eren Yeager and Levi Ackerman from AOT, capturing the enigmatic essence of L or Yagami Light in Death Note, or delving into characters like Roy Mustang in FMA: Brotherhood and Guts from Berserk, the list is extensive. The array of Anime roles I aspire to explore is vast and diverse, presenting an exciting challenge that I eagerly look forward to undertaking.
Did you get a chance to explore Bhubaneswar and experience the local culture?
I extend my gratitude to my gracious hosts, Priyadarshan from DBS Chronicles, Funhub Odisha, and the Odisha Anime Club. Thanks to them, I had the opportunity to explore local attractions and savour the delightful cuisine during my brief visit. I plan on returning with more leisure time to fully immerse myself in the experience. While navigating the city, I was struck by numerous locations adorned with captivating graffiti, leaving a lasting impression. Additionally, the enthusiastic reception and boundless affection from fans were the perfect culmination of this visit, truly adding the finishing touch to the entire experience.
What advice do you have for aspiring voice actors, especially in the anime industry?
I think this is the best time for Anime in India, to enter this field or any field related to Anime would be an excellent choice. I always recommend aspiring voice actors take theatre training to help with character development and emotion building. Theatre also teaches the importance of language and guides you on using your voice with skill. Observing people around you and studying their voice and speaking pattern is also something you can do as an exercise.
Madhusmita Sahu, OP