Why this kolaveri, kolaveri di?

5 Jan

Sounds familiar? It’s the internet sensation that has taken India and even quite a few other parts of the world by storm – a Tamil, or rather Tanglish (Tamil + English) song that was more or less spontaneously composed, sung to and recorded – and then leaked on to the internet to become an instant viral hit that has surprised the main protagonists themselves.
So what’s the story? Let’s begin with the basics. South Indian Super Star Rajnikanth’s daughter Aishwarya is directing a film called “3” to be released in 2012. The main stars are to be her husband Danush and Shruti Hassan, the daughter of Rajnikanth’s archrival in moviedom, Kamal Hassan. That alone gave the movie a pre release buzz before this song came along.
Then Aishwarya decided that she wanted a song of heartbreak – only she wanted it to be funny too. The music composer for the song is 21 year old Anirudh Ravichander, apparently a nephew of Rajnikanth’s. He reportedly composed the catchy beat of the song in 20 minutes and then it was left to Danush to come up with some lyrics. Except, as Danush has been reported as saying, he didn’t know how to pen something funny and tragic at the same time so he just made up words in tune to the beat – whatever came to his mind.

It is perhaps that quality in the video, the sense that the singer is making up words spontaneously to a catchy beat, that is its greatest appeal. Of course Danush’s charishma and vibrantly appealing grin which he break out in quite a few places with, has probably more than just a little to do with the song’s mass appeal. Add to that Shruti Hassan’s beauty and sex appeal and the combined atmosphere created by four young people enjoying themselves as they work together and the video seems to have an irresistible mix of ingredients thrown in.
The video, uploaded on youtube on November 21st has thus far racked up nearly 9.5 million views (and will have probably well passed that figure by the time this article goes to print.) It is as of this moment, the most searched and viewed video on youtube, in India and has been shared several hundred thousand times on networking sites such as facebook! Since then a lot of national newspapers in India have tried to dissect and analyze the popularity of the song without coming to any meaningful conclusions. It has apparently left them all stumped.
Most agree that it’s a very likable if simplistic song – though it has its numerous detractors too. But with all the overanalysis and overhype as to why, perhaps to those who have watched and become hooked on the song, it isn’t that hard to understand why: A charismatic young singer with a strangely addictive voice having fun making words as he goes along, a catchy beat and four young people collaborating together to come up with something that the audience is given a sneak peak at – as if we were given an unique opportunity to watch them through a charmed window, while they were unaware we were watching – all that is bound to have a wide mass appeal to youths the world over. And well, cringeworthy as that thought is, even the nonsensical lyrics such as “white-u skin-u girl-u, girl-u – girl-u heart-u black-u” probably had something to do with it. Nothing quite like blaming the girl for failure in love to garner mass appeal.

Apparently people all over India and even other parts of the globe are going around singing “why this kolaveri, kolaveri di?” and one of the most asked questions on internet forums these days is “What does Kolaveri mean?”

People can make out most of the song, it being in Tanglish but the main chorus eludes them.
“Kolaveri” means urge to kill in Tamil and ‘di’ is a colloquial form of address to a girl. So it roughly translates as, “Why this urge to kill, girl?”

In the video, Danush starts by telling guys, “Yo boys, I am singing song; soup song; flop song.”
Everyone knows what a flop song is which ironically is the last thing Kolaveri turned out to be but what on earth is a “soup song?” Apparently “soup” is a colloquial term for guys who have failed in love – so he is singing a “Soup song” for “soup boys.”
Well as it turned out the song is rocking and “soup boys” as well as non soup boys and girls are rocking with it!


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