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Kolaviral: “Why this Kolaveri di?”

Comments on Kolaviral: “Why this Kolaveri di?”

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Posted 11/26/11 - 5:56 PM:
Subject: Kolaviral: “Why this Kolaveri di?”
YouTube views-count for this promotional song ( for movie "3") is about to touch 6 million as I am writing this post. Kolaveri is a Tamil word which means “Murderous Rage” felt by an unrequited or jilted lover but in every day usage it means ‘unnecessary anger’. This song has gained an unprecedented popularity with in one week. Kolaveri is most trendy word on twitter and has penetrated into the mainstream.

What has made this song so popular?

SonyMusic has to say that it’s their marketing campaign. "We wanted this song to go viral on cyberspace. We marketed aggressively to make the song a national rage, by posting it on Tamil, Hindi and international Facebook pages, apart from releasing it on YouTube. The video accompanying the song was recorded at 2 a.m., and edited on the day of the release," says Ashok Parwani, associate director, Sony Music Entertainment India.

Others suggest that mixing of Tamil with English in a most light hearted manner along with the music made it such a rage. Music director of this song, along with Dhanush, the lyricist and actor in the song, concurs that beyond a certain point they cannot analyse the reasons behind the popularity of the song. Dhanush has said that he wrote this song as a nonsensical piece without much thought.

The song has been associated with the slapping of Sharad Pawar. The associations are always quirky and synchronous. The rage which caused that slap cannot be called ‘murderous’. If you ask experts like Arindam Chaudhary, they might come up with ‘formulae’ for success of a movie or song but such formulae do not see the light of the day for long. His movie started panting at box-office in the very first week.

You may say that there are things which ‘might’ make a product popular. The quality of product along with the marketing might help thing get popularity very quickly but there is no guarantee that it would happen. There always is a certain stardust associated with things which get popular and the product has to be at the right place at the right time in order to get popular. This chaotic element, this x-factor is not something in the control of producer and cannot be imitated or analysed.

Mimetics might give a hint that things which give immediate solace, which are easy to connect to, which make you feel connected are most likely to be things which get instantaneous lime-light: but whether they sustain or not is another thing. The most powerful memes have highest endurance. Kolaveri has entered in your consciousness and is not likely to leave you very soon.

Kolaveri has made it even to the Language Log, the distinguished linguistics blog of Mark Liberman and other eminent linguists.
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