November 23, 2011

Kolaviral Marketing-u

Unless you have managed to cocoon yourself from the inescapable presence of social media, you would have certainly not missed Kolaveri. No. it ain’t the name of a pornstar all set to join a reality show. That is Karen ..Nor is it the name of some sort of a hurricane, referring to Katrina by the way. But its impact has been much more than the 2 put together. Technically speaking, it’s a song. No.. A soup song.  No! A flop song.. what the hell! So damn confused..just as confused as multitudes of people out there who were caught tapping their feet to a song they had no f*****g clue about. So what exactly is this Kolaveri phenomenon which has suddenly taken the entire country by storm? And what is it that makes everybody around hum it? So much that ignorance would be for once a crime , a severe crime! (Now still if you are a criminal, undo your sin by clicking here

There is a lot more to Kolaveri than the simple fact that it’s been composed by a skilled debutante, written & sung by a debutante who discovered a new skill in the process, for a film directed by another debutante, who incidentally happens to be the latter’s wife! Er..not so simple eh?..Dhanush, fresh from winning the National Award for Best ‘Actor’ could have just gone on with his usual business by acting in delightful roles.But what made him take this plunge into a field in which even the Udit Narayans and Ilayarajas have failed to stand the test of time? Well, the answer to that is Nothing! Exactly. Nothing! The point is, Dhanush never intended to do it..It just happened. 20 mins of joblessness, coupled with the right mix of mood & mischief and a tinge of nonsense..(Umm..a tinge? Not exactly..)  and there you have it! arguably the most explosive audio track in the Indian online history. 

Contrast that with the amount of pain & heartbreaks Ranbir, Rahman & Imtiaz Ali had to go through for Rockstar and we can’t help but feel sorry for those poor chaps. “Toote hue dil se hi sangeet nikalta hai ” it seems! Rubbish. Here’s a guy whose mind-u & heart-u were in perfect shape-u and yet dished out a bigger hit-u! And as I sit in the same state of joblessness as Dhanush did, I just can’t help but frame my own theories behind this Kolaveri magic. You can call it the curiosity of a marketing enthusiast in exploring a bit of viral marketing. But I don’t wanna embarrass myself by sounding academic amidst this Kolaveri hysteria –

1)      More than anything what strikes a chord instantly with the masses is its simplicity. Simple lyrics, simple song, simple artiste, and a simple video. You don’t have to be from the Bombay Scottish or the Stephen’s or La Martiniere to decipher that it’s about a white-u skin-u girl-u with a black-u heart-u..It’s a kinda song you wouldn’t mind giving a life performance of in public. Be it the crowded locals of Mumbai or the sticky traffic of Chennai or the sophisticated congestion of Delhi metro, given a surface to beat and a spectator to treat, you just won’t mind being a Dhanush for a change. Perhaps it’s got to do with the earthy charm of the man. Not one guy here in Delhi believed me when I said he is a superstar in Tamil Nadu. But the song changed everything! Of course..they had got tired of their heroes too..Who wants to adore a ‘king’ who begs from pillar to post selling a 150 crore product which ain’t worth 50 paise? Change was in the air and Dhanush struck..and how!

2)     Did you notice the 2 heavyweights of Tamil Cinema in the song? Am talking about Kamal Hassan & Rajinikanth of course. I have deliberately put Kamal’s name first, not to offend any Rajini fans, but for the simple reason that his contribution to the popularity of the video is far greater! WELL OF COURSE (Now Dhoni fans, plz control urselves..).Rajini’s daughter directed the video..his son-in-law wrote the song & sang the song..but so what?! Its Kamal who takes the cake. Don’t believe me? If you are man enough (My female fans & friends can ignore this line), am sure your eye balls would have popped out like Jim Carrey’s Mask at the drop dead gorgeous daughter of Kamal Hassan in the video.  It was as though the Greek Goddess of Beauty (whatever Her name is ) Herself descended upon the earth..The truth is, I would have anyway seen the video 20 times. But because of Sruthi Hassan, I saw it 200 times! Extrapolate this to an entire population of desperate young men like me in a 1.2 billion heavy country. Well. That explains the unprecedented Youtube views doesn’t it? ;-)

3)      National integration – The song came at a time when the country was at its most divided self. At the helm is an 80 year old honest puppet fed up of his own dishonest party’s constant bickering with an opportunist opposition. Down south is a liquor baron trying to protect his fleet of flights and busty babes from going bust. Intersperse that with a modern Gandhian who is too old to know the difference between lieutenant and left-tenant..And to top it all, a time when the single biggest unifying factor in this country nicknamed God has decided to teach his billion fans some brutal lessons on patience in the form of his 100th ton. The nation couldn’t have been more battered & bruised. 

I     It is at this crucial juncture that Dhanush’s masterstroke delivers big time! In a divided country at a divided time, the entire nation was unanimous in praise for this song..A folk song in essence, fused with English lyrics, spiced with a Tamil ‘accent-u’ carrying a universal feel not only managed to delight his own fans in Tamil Nadu but also caught the fancy of everybody from Gandhinagar to Guwahati & Kashmir to Kanyakumari! This is a country which has the largest youth population in the whole world. Imagine 700 million youngsters gyrating to the beats of the same vibration..feel the thump? The thump of a united country marching ahead for glory! Rabindranath Tagore would be weeping in his grave thinking-“Kahaan Jana Gana Mana..aur kahaan Glass-u Scotch-u Holy cow-u!”  

At the time of writing, #Kolaveri is the top trend on Twitter. The number of views has gone way past a million and the Facebook shares, even more! It’s the first ‘Tamil’ song being played out across all the radio stations in the country. And I won’t be surprised to see it feature in the Oxford dictionary either. I’m no crystal ball gazer to predict the fate of the film. After all, It may not be Kolaveri sexy..oops..i mean so very sexy! :p But the song certainly serves as a lesson for the film marketers who take up expensive below the line marketing strategies and brand tie-ups and thus dig a grave for themselves.

20 mins of creativity is all it takes to sell yourself in a film world. So why waste crores in doing just that? Ultimately, It took the one headed Ram just just one arrow from a stretched 'Dhanush' to undo a 10 headed Ra.One (pun intended). And that’s precisely the sort of stuff Dhanush has achieved. He has set an entire nation crooning & rolling..on a scale which is hitherto unmatched..yes..not even by his much more famous father-in-law! ‘3’ cheers to Kolaveri! J