If ever more evidence was needed about the hit status of the Tanglish rap number “Why this kolaveri di”, it arrived in this morning’s newspapers in the shape of the Amul ad, “Khalo everyday”. Already the most-searched Youtube video in India, millions of hits since mid-November when the song went viral on Facebook and other sites, it has gained a Wikipedia entry and mentions even in otherwise ponderous business newspapers. What can explain the instant appeal of the folk-songsy lilt and almost meaningless lyrics in Tamil-English of yet another song about “love failure”, they wonder. Even musical director/composer Anirudh Ravichander (also the musical producer), film director Aishwarya Dhanush and singer Dhanush have been somewhat befuddled by the runaway success of the song even before the film, “3” has been released. The song might have come up in only 20 minutes, but classical musicians, not to be left behind, have come up with their own Carnatic version, apparently over an hour .
It’s the first Tamil film song to play on MTV India, and was aired on BBC radio 10 days after its release on 16th November. And this Tamil song about rejected lovers has also provoked spoofs about the India-Pakistan relationship. While we have to wait for the EPW and Seminar analysts to intellectualise the phenomenon, may we hope that it is a fitting challenge to the Bollywoodization of Southasia?