Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why This Kolaveri Di, Boon or Bane???

What got me going to write this...to start with, was kind of amused that I liked the song, kind of grew on me. One pretty much left it at that. One was aware of a few positive sound bytes towards the number. The makers themselves staked no claim to it being a classic or the like. From what little i have heard and given my limited exposure to the world, have not seen anyone put the song on a pedestal and call it a classic. The awe has been the popularity and how it went viral on the net.

Then came two incidents that got me wanting to write. One was Javed Akthar's (A man i kind of look up to given the body of his work) Tweet "KOLAVARI-D". Every one is praising the robes but the emporer is naked. Tune ordinary ,singing substandard.words an insult to sensibility" Then a subsequent snippet on the Hindustan Times mentioning the same which got a whole load of comments quite a few supporting Javed's point of view. Thus my reaction is not limited to Javed's comment but to many supportive arguments born then on, hence would be unfair to put all those on his (Javed's) door step for many of the views may or may not be shared by him.
Have also seen a lot comments trying to bring his work in picture, which i think is unfair. If he has written senseless songs, it does not rob him of his right to comment on songs he thinks senseless. Though what irks me is the sense of passing judgement (the analogy of the naked emperor does just that), he has a right to his opinion no doubt, does he have to look down upon others for theirs. The Tweet without the naked emperor analogy will have been so much more palatable.
Some of the views, in concise were (a) The song went viral because of the marketing and efforts on the online space and not necessarily its brilliance (b) It reflected the mediocrity of the times we lived in, given how it became popular (c)It could no compare to the classics, and some saw it fit to bring names such as Mozart, Beethoven and the likes... (d) The purity of language and the use of two languages and slang that currently in vogue.

(a) Any one who has a fair idea of online marketing knows what one can do to garner hits and increase viewership, having said that how many ever of those techniques and tools one uses beyond a point you need to achieve and go beyond the critical mass to get that level of viewership, for which there needs to be a significant level of liking to be generated. One accepts the popularity of the personalities involved matter. (lot of was being made off, Dhanush being Rajni's Son in law - to be fair to him he has had a fair share of fan following earlier than that). Hence to say the popularity, was a product marketing wizardry would rob the song of it inherent qualities (what ever they might have been) that helped it become popular. It has struck some cord with a wide cross section of people to have made it this popular. As for those who claim this to be a new trend, I disagree, the trend has always been the same just the medium is new. The best product has rarely been the the best sold product. Remember a friend (of some repute i must say) of mine from the add world once saying to me the best lines are not necessarily the most remembered lines... the most remembered lines are the most repeated. (doondthe rehe jao ge or lets say doodh se safadi nirma..or lime and lemony limica are lines we kept hearing over and over in not so crowded era). Marketing and selling have always been there and likely to be there too... A Tanzen I guess is so well known given he was the member of the court of the most powerful/popular emperor. could we say with any surety that he was the best the time produced then. The Tanjore quartet (who were patronized by the rulers then) almost wiped out all proof art existing prior to them. So much so for people who believe the world of art was egalitarian.

Javed Akthar
(b & C) To me the thought is born from a sense of elitism that exists in art as it does else where. The fact that one can understand and appreciate classics kind of puts them on a ladder of so called refinement. Javed Akthar's analogy would work on them far more then on the common mass (for I feel if you put in a piece of music and credited it Beethowen or Mozart or Zakir Hussain, you would see a whole load of people drooling all over it, irrespective of wether they understood it or not.Just as much as cheap wine in a costly 100 year bottle will genrate appreciative noises) In every generation and time (more so in arts) the current has rarely been appreciated as much as the past. The Current always seemed debauched, irreverent and so on the list of names that could prove it are endless (Vincent  Van gogh, Bach, Leonarda da vinci) (10 incredible artists unappreciated in their time) there many such lists, google and you will find. More often then not it is aging part of the society who is always critical of the current generation... (in our times is oft heard lament...) and then we have the younger who have the need to differentiate and display that they have arrived and understand life and it's sublime better then their down trodden brethren, yours truly has been guilty of it for sure, anything popular would be shunned - hence Titanic was a shallow movie not worth watching . A good parameter is to see how kids react, they do not suffer the baggage we adults do, of class vs mass, off the popularity of the artist (more so for kids not exposed to tamil movies - they are unlikely to know Dhanush). Seen a few kids hum the song and they neither seem to have seen the video or know the people involved. They just find the song catchy.

Most of these allegations and defense put up are all subjective and driven by personal tastes. My take is : The makers of the song have at no stage staked claim to any kind of glory. They pretty much have been the first to say that the whole song was senseless and done in fun more for a lark .At best we take them at their word, at worst they worked hard to make it popular and taking the understated stand is part of the marketing ploy. Of what little I have read and spoken to people (which is not much-and sure can not be a fair sample size) no one seems to think of the song as great piece of art and so on. The song just seems to connect, the whole package seems quite infectious.
I think we should just let it be there and not grudge the song its popularity.. For the ones who find it so repulsive, you control the remote so to say... certain numbers are catchy, as for its life only time will tell..... In our time where attention spans are so short one does not expect it to be too long.....

4 comments:

  1. I don't like the song, although it sort of sticks to your head, and it is only a testimony to the sheer potential of internet as a sharing platform... People who don't even know the language are talking about it in the entire country,, which I think is awesome...

    ... Swapna

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  2. good. very good....

    this post is a reflection of many like us.... thanks for writing that.

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  3. It always Boon..superb song and simple lyrics which made the song a huge hit of the year

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  4. The song has no pretensions but I felt that it showed a lot about the pretensions of the people hearing it.

    I heard it and I thought it was ctachy and never thought of it again. People have written serious articles calling all culture to be judged. Which tells me more about them.

    As for Akthar, it is a shame that a man many consider to be our nation's finest lyricist felt the need to actually trash talk a song like kolaveri.

    I felt like it was as if I barged into a slum and told them the interior decoration was cheap and dirty.

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