Sunday November 20, 2011

Making a viral hit out of a Tamil girl’s murderous rage

Posted by Karthik

If you still haven’t seen the song of the season, you must be living under quite a big rock!

This.

It’s a pretty funky song, no doubt, with horrendous lyrics by the singer himself – actor Dhanush, or Rajinikant’s son-in-law, as he’s better introduced to the rest of India. But I understand why the song is going massively viral all across the web – great combination of simple, catchy rhythm and predominantly English-based Tanglish (combination of Tamil and English) sentences that pass off in the name of lyrics. I’d assume this is a man-song considering it exaggerates what is simply a ‘love failure’ (as Madras baais say) song into something humongous. After all, the lyrics say,

‘Why this murderous rage, murderous rage, murderous rage, you woman?’

Yes, ‘kola veri’ means ‘murderous rage’!

But this post is not to extol the virtues of this viral superhit.

If you notice actor Dhanush‘s tweets or even the composer Anirudh‘s – supposed to be Aishwarya Dhanush’s (that is, Rajinikant’s daughter) cousin –  tweets, you’d see that they have started celebrating success on a very different criteria.

Earlier, it used to be the number of cassette’s sold. Then, number of CDs sold. Now, it is number of views on YouTube in a particular time frame.

Consider the following tweets.

“5 lakhs in 3 days! #whythiskolaveridi

“Its official! ‘Kolaveri’ is the most searched and played Youtube Video in India today! Thank u all!”

“Why this kolaveri di .. 24 hours 83000 you tube views. Thank you guys. For making it the most viewed you tube”

I wonder what 5 lakh views on YouTube does to the film. Publicity – yes. Massive PR – yes. In case of CD sales, it meant return on the investment for creating the music and making them available commercially. In case of this song, I believe this song was leaked on Facebook first and then Sony Music scrambled to make a hastily shot video (the in-studio video says it all) available on YouTube officially, to salvage whatever they can. And then they released it as a single, officially, for whatever it is worth. Now that it has gone viral (all over India, I should add – language no bar!), I wonder what will it do to the film. Will it drive more people to watch the film? Or buy the single CD (which has never happened in India – people download singles, not pay for it)?

For instance, an item song is expected to bring in crowds to the theater. But these days, there are many avenues to catch an item song, in audio or even video, besides the theater. So, what value do item songs add, unless they are extraordinarily shot and are worth watching in the big screen? The larger question is, however, would people spend Rs.200+ just because they like a 5 minute song that they may have already seen/heard many times over?

Whichever way you see it, the song is an undeniable chart-buster and continues to go viral all over the net, beyond one state and country. So, it is all the more fascinating to see what it does the film’s producers in the real world beyond just publicity, like music used to do earlier. If it does, at any level, ‘YouTube views’ would officially become the new ‘CD sales’, if it hasn’t already.

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