The Kolaveri Chronicles


As the national television scooped it up, further catapulting it into the drawing rooms of people who have not yet heard of Facebook or are privy to the phenomenon of a lanky young man crooning ‘Why this Kolaveri di?’, a north Indian friend asked me what kolaveri means. He has another barrage of questions. Is it a Tamil song? (Tanglish has obviously confused him.) And a whole lot of things about Dhanush and his lineage (for one, about the fact that he is the superstar Rajini’s son in law). That besides, he loved the song.

He only has one gripe. He can’t download the song because the only thing available is the video version that is being shared like a zillion times over and over again. But the media is being generous enough to force that song down his throat at least a few times a day. He gets his dose. Curiously, another one of my friends said she hated it. Only to throw in the towel a little later – be it the bombardment of the song on her from all angles or just the catchiness of it. She confessed to me that ‘she can’t stop humming it.’

But then, everybody loves it. Don’t they? Kolaveri stole the limelight from right under the nose of Sheelas and Chammak Challos, despite the fact that there are no explosive item-girls present in it and that there was not even a proper video to boast of. A Wikipedia entry, more than 11 million views in Youtube and the same amount of shares in Facebook, trending topic on Twitter for many days and even an MTV premiere (a first for MTV that has never telecast Tamil songs before), Dhanush couldn’t have asked for more ways to promote his movie 3.

The last we heard a Tamil song go viral (all over India) was Vijay’s Appadi Podu for the movie Gilli (talking of which, the Appadi Podu song is recently officially acquired by Sonu Sood to be featured in his production venture and Vidyasagar is composing the tune for Hindi). That happened before the advent of Facebook and other social networking sites so the success was sort of muted unlike Kolaveri. And oh, there is even a Carnatic version of the song now. That notwithstanding the fact that there are numerous other versions floating around in the cyberspace universe. One that is particularly funny is that of a Punjabi girl singing the song. Kolaveri is also finding place in common culture too. A video, featuring the Sharad Pawar slap incident with Kolaveri song playing in the background is almost going viral.

TechZone, the company that provides content for leading Indian network operators including Airtel, Reliance and DoCoMo announced that the song has been already downloaded 20,000 times in the past five days. You can set it as your caller tune or download it on your mobile based on the standard download charges of your operator.

The spunky Tanglish lyrics and the tune have also found mention in the tweets by folks from Bollywood including Abhishek Bachchan, Karan Johar, Neha Dhupia and Shreya Ghoshal. Anirudh, who tuned it up, might have already received a few calls from prospective Bollywood producers.

Dhanush has unwittingly kicked off a topic on tapping the potential of social networking sites to promote a movie. A marketing tactic that is sure going to be studied in the days to come: even adopted by other filmmakers probably. What Kolaveri did to the movie is kind of lasting. The national channels that telecast the uprising of the song on cyberspace are going to carry news about the movie’s release when it’s out. I can already see what the ticker would read: ‘Kolaveri on big screen.’ That’s more than the required thrust for the movie’s opening.

The huge onus of creating a music video, complementing the success of the song with its working video, now lies with the 3 crew. Whether they decide to incorporate it in the film or make it a title song, they will have too many tongues wagging when the official version of the song is released.

Yes, we all know that the attention is ephemeral. The Mumbai flash mob video, of around 200 students, dancing to the title track of Rang De Basanti in the well choreographed video is slowly scrambling its way to reach kolaveri. Will it make kolaveri pale in comparison? To quote a cliché: only time will tell. Whoever said fame is short-lived.

As for my friend, I told him he can download the song on his mobile. Or even set it as his caller tune.

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