India Goes Gaga Over Killer Kolaveri

Why this kolaveri di? Because it is simple, colloquial and rhythmic. The whopping success the ‘Tanglish’ song – Why This Kolaveri Di – has seen, much before the release of the movie, has many a father.

It is the hidden story of how a comic slang from Madurai has travelled all the way, gaining a wide currency by making it to India’s urban youth sub-culture. The occasional singer in Dhanush (actor son-in-law of matinee icon Rajinikanth) has doubled up as the lyricist, adding to the aura of the number. A National award-winning actor, he continues to remain an antithesis of everything that characterises a popular hero.

No wonder then that the simple tune, which has a resemblance to music legend Ilayaraja’s famous song Nila athu vaanathu mele in Kamal Hassan’s Nayagan, has caught up with the imagination of the nation.

And not to be missed is the fact that this peppy number is from the movie, 3, in which Dhanush and Shruti Hassan, daughter of Hassan, are the lead pair. It is also significant as Rajinikanth’s daughter and Dhanush’s wife, Aishwarya, makes her directorial debut with the movie.

The film has already created a lot of excitement down South over a reported lip-lock between Dhanush and Shruti.

The ‘Tanglish’ lingo used in the song conforms to the SMS style of college youth and adults, giving it instant receptivity.

But Kolaveri has its origin in Madurai where it is commonly used to debunk someone getting worked up for nothing.

“Yen intha kolaveri?” (Why this killer rage?) is a common refrain in the region and it is to the credit of comedian Vadivelu that it got its entry into the popular domain through films. It has received so much acceptance that even kids have been using it without any compunction.

Yet, these things alone cannot be taken as the sole reason for the song’s success.

For one thing, the Internet has helped it reach out to a much larger audience.

The song was first ‘leaked’ on the Internet, and then observing the track’s popularity, the makers released it officially. Was the leak by design or a mere accident is a question that is being debated in coffee shops and drawing rooms of the middle class these days.

For southern film critic and theatre personality, Gnani, it is “sheer marketing that has carried this ordinary song with a regressive anti-woman content” this far.

Questioning the claims of the film crew about the song being a huge hit, he said. “It is mere media hype. Rather than the song being liked by the masses, it is being thrust on them.” According to his reasoning, the movie is also the coming together of the families of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan and nothing more was needed for the media to pick it up.

Well, the song as the lyrics suggests deals with the wailing of a youth who failed in love and takes refuge in alcohol – a modern day Devdas! And reminiscing sorrows naturally strikes a chord with the masses.

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