By Sreedhar Pillai
Remember the phenomenal chartbuster “Why This Kolaveri Di ..” from the soundtrack of the Tamil film 3? The song written and sung by Dhanush with music by Anirudh Ravichander, changed the staid Tamil film album scene.
Even the prestigious TIME magazine featured an article on the sensational song and said “while the song's lyrics are practically gibberish, the country can't seem to stop listening to it.” Today Tamil films have big audio launches and everybody who is in the business of music – labels, producers, music directors and actors are going all out to promote their film music
The Tanglish (Tamil and English) lyrics of the song in 3 made it a sort of youth anthem and it went on to become an all-time chartbuster and created a new market for such songs in 2012. There have been record 148 Tamil releases till December 7, and most of them had a Tanglish song, which went on to become chartbusters. In the first 10 days of December there was a record 18 Tamil film audio launches, showing the growing importance that music plays in promotion of a film.
Tamil cinema’s best known director of romantic love stories Gautham Menon said : “ Songs are an integral part of my films. My latest film Neethane En Ponvasantham (NEP) has peppy melodies from the maestro Ilayaraja sir which is already on top of the charts.” Menon has aggressively promoted the music of his NEP and it has caught on with the youth and will also ensure an opening for the film scheduled to release on December 14.
The year’s biggest box-office hit is Vijay’s Thuppakki and it had a song – “Google Google Panni Paarthaen Ulagathula, Ivan Pola Oru Kirukanam Porandhilla. Yahoo, Yahoo Panni Paarthum Ivanapola Indha Grahathullum Innoruthan Kidackavilla”. The literal translation of the song reads- I googled in this world, I couldn’t find any mad boy like him. I yahooed him but couldn’t find any boy like him in this universe!
Today it has become fashionable to have songs peppered with English catch words. The producers of Tamil films are piggy back riding on the music of the film to get a recall value for the film. Blogeswari, a Mumbai based music analyst and social media tracker said: “We love our movies and its music. More than Bollywood, have seen our Tamil people quoting movie dialogues and singing appropriate movie songs as pure timepass in their conversations. So Tamil film makers go all out to ensure the songs have a high playout, recall and thus help them get their first weekend crowd. We saw how Nakka Mukka and Kolaveri helped the movies in the initial buzz”.
Says the owner of a Chennai based music label: “To be an online rage, like the Kolaveri Di song has shown, requires fresh and creative thinking and consumer involvement. Today 95 % of music sales are digital and actually only 5 % there is a physical sale through CD’s and cassettes. 5 years back nearly 70 % were through physical sales in stores. Next year I think all music sales will be through the net or mobile.”
Meanwhile singers, lyric writers, music directors and even actors are aggressively pushing their music. AR Rahman regularly tweets about his compositions. His new Mani Ratnam film Kadal song “Nenjukulle ..” was first performed live on Rahman’s MTV Unplugged by singer Shakthisree Gopalan. The song was an instant hit and Shakthi became the new sensation. A month later Rahman and Sony Music has premiered the second song “ Elay Keechan..” sung by Rahman himself from the Kadal on Monday (Dec 10).
AR Rahman’s Elay Keechan from Kadal has gone to number 1 on the iTunes Top Charts in the first day itself, beating Dabangg 2, Talaash , Khiladi 786 and other Bollywood titles. Madhan Karky the man who penned the song is the son of National award winning lyricist and poet laureate of Tamil Vairamuthu . A professor at the Anna University Karky has now given up his job to become a full time lyricist. Karky a social networking star knows what works with the youth music lovers.
In an earlier interview Sridhar Subramaniam, President, Sony Music, the market leader in Tamil film audios said “We saw a huge potential in the Kolaveri song, and decided to create a video which was spontaneous yet fun. The idea was simple, we shot a video with the actor and producer and uploaded it on our YouTube channel, and from there it was promoted to over 1 million fans on various social media channels. Within hours of us posting the video online, we received updates from people on Facebook & Twitter. The song created a viral rage and before we knew it, everyone was humming it.”
Says Raja who specialises in internet marketing; “The song has to be differentiated, relevant, intriguing and engaging. It has to be a campaign that exemplifies the power of social and digital media to garner interest, engage consumers and grow exponentially as it catches on and spreads.” Karthi’s new film Alex Pandian, an old Rajinikanth title will have its audio launch on 12/12/12, the superstar’s birthday!
Added Blogeshwari : “Yesterday, one composer (whose debut 4 years ago was a super hit) was cribbing about how not a single song from his album has been played even once in any of the radio stations. For a radio station to break a new song, the composer and actor play a very important role. Fans of big stars (Vijay,Ajith, Rajni,Suriya) look forward to the songs of their idols' new movies.”
Meanwhile the music goes on as another dozen films are getting ready for their audio launch in the next 10 days. Trending on the digital medium is real. A song can be tracked, monitored, measured and assessed. It’s non-stop music in Kollywood. Play on!