“Why this kolaveri di?” would have sounded like an indecipherable question a few weeks ago. But now it sounds familiar to almost everybody –although it is still incomprehensible to most of the people.
“Kolaveri Di” does not need an introduction. This song, sung by Dhanush, a National Award winning South Indian actor, has become a viral sensation on the Internet. As I am writing it the song is close to touching 26 million views mark on YouTube.
I watched it on YouTube when more than 5 million people had already watched it and humming it all around. There is no doubt that the song has a catchy tune in “Why this kolaveri kolaveri kolaveri di”… but rest of the song is nonsense. Dhanush (who also wrote the lyrics) admits it to be a nonsense song. Personally, I did not like the song so much. It’s just ok type and that too only because of the tune. Essentially it is the tune that has spread like a craze –lyrics, singing and video are that of a mediocre quality.
So, how come a nonsensical song is becoming so much popular? First of all we have to accept the importance of Internet in its popularity. The song became “viral”… in computing terminology “viral” means that its popularity reproduced itself and spread like a wildfire. It’s like snowball effect –the bigger it gets the more potential it gains. Perhaps, the first viewers of “Kolavery Di” on YouTube shared it because of its funny and nonsensical lyrics with a lot of words ending with “u”. And then later on the tune got etched in the mind of masses.
But does this really translates into popularity? Is becoming viral and becoming popular one and the same thing?
Honestly speaking –the song is not so great. But it has certainly managed to turn a spark into a massive fire. The bigger it became –the lesser courage people were left with to criticize it if they did not like it. It’s hard, especially for youth, to disagree with what their groups of chums have to say. No one wants to be seen as an outcast.
Kolaveri Di is a Tamil-English song –sung in Tamilian accent. Its popularity in north India is being seen as an example of youth-driven-unity of India. I don’t believe that this song is any proof of India’s youth becoming more nationalist in their thoughts or deeds. The regional divide in the mind of youth is as deep as it has always been. While listening to the song, may be for a few minutes people might forget about regionalism –but soon after, words like “madrasi”, “gujju”, “mallu”, “bong”, “bihari” and “chinki” take their usual place in people’s psyche.
That was what I feel about this song. Whether I like this song or not, the truth is that it has become a never-seen-before sensation in Indian music. I have never seen an Indian song becoming so madly popular. Kolaveri Di has inspired innumerable “versions” with people singing it in different styles. There are all sorts of versions: ghazal, Hitler, female, software, Gujarati, Punjabi, Himachali, Bhojpuri etc. I have sampled many of these and found the Gujarati version to be the best (in fact it’s better than the original!)