Make no mistake. The song is a rage down south as much as it is in Japan and Pakistan and its mind-numbing success has meant that many South Indians, especially Tamilians, will brook no criticism about the song anymore, whatever misgivings they might have had about it earlier. Pride, you see. But there is undeniable puzzlement at the extent of frenzy it has generated. This jaw drop is often accompanied by the wry smile of the underdog – it is as if the aforementioned self-respecting chap always knew that one day, the world would wake up to the joys of Dravidian rhythms. It seems like Dhanush himself can relate to this feeling. At a recent do, embarrassed by the adulation, he pleaded with the world to treat ‘Kolaveri’ as ‘just another silly, small song that you listen to and forget about’. That is often the sentiment reflected in blogs and status updates of south Indians who are questioning its runaway success. ‘You come here and we will make you hear better ones’ is essentially what they are saying. Precisely why, most of them openly laughed at Javed Akhtar’s derision. (Akhtar compared liking the song to praising the robes of the naked emperor). They knew he simply ‘didn’t get it’.
What clicks, clicks. Fuming about its quality is a futile exercise and most south Indians have a healthy respect for the mysteries that lie behind sensations. After all, they have grown up on films that routinely defy logic but appeal greatly. The snorts and titters that you hear from down south are directed more towards the addicted rather than the addiction.
Published in the February 2012 issue of Avantika, a magazine on the world of performing arts.
Find the magazine's website here www.avantikamagazine.com.