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Sriram Balasubramanian
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 13 : 02

Kolaveri di and Kabaddi: tales of two successes


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The "Why this Kolaveri di" song has captured the imagination of the youth of the nation. With a view count of almost 20 lakh people and with likes in thousands on Youtube, within the first few days, it has somehow become big news.

After some inputs from friends and their amusement, I decided to listen to the song and tried to figure out what actually makes it successful. As I was doing this, I also realised that our Kabaddi players had become World Champions, I am sorry double world champions.

Firstly, I think this song is a no brainer. The lyrics are at best simplistic, at worst lame. It doesn't make much of a sense even if its considered a "bathroom" song. However, despite all this, I feel that the simplicity of the song actually has worked wonders for it. The term kolaveri, for my non Tamizh friends, is not "murderous rage" per say as quoted widely. Though this is the literal meaning, in this context, it is an emotive response of a guy who is lost in love and is feeling the brunt of the flip side of a love.

In this context, it is a more of a humorous tone and not rage per say. Coming back to the simplicity, I think the lyrics are so simple and the theme is so generic, that people across all walks of life can actually relate to the meaning.

One of the biggest achievements of this song is that for once I have seen so much unity on social networking sites with regards to an appreciation for a Tamizh song (whether justified or not is a different question). It has brought a certain level of curiosity among fellow Indians who don't really know much of the language.

In the process, it has created a healthy interaction and proved yet again that music crosses barriers irrespective of language. The music is something I liked quite a bit and I think it might be one of the reasons for its big success. The young debut music director seems to have been the pivot for this song. The singer is Rajinikanth's son-in-law, doesn't that say it all?

While all this was happening in the world of music and social networking sites, something else also happened. Oh yes, we won something called the Kabaddi world cup in both the men's and the women's divisions.

The Kabaddi World Cup got over this week and the Indian team won it convincingly. In the second edition of the tournament, the Indian men's team defeated the Canadians 59-25 in the final to lift the trophy. The women's team on the other hand cruised to a convincing victory over UK with a margin of 44-17 to be crowned champions.

In essence, we are world champions in two divisions of a potential Olympic sport. While there is scepticism with the reach and the viewership of Kabaddi as a sport, the question arises if it was given enough attention by the public. The pictures of female world champion Kabaddi players reaching home by autorickshaws reveals the deep disparity between cricket and the rest of the sporting spectrum.

The stars of the cricketing world receive crores per game whereas the world champions of our Kabaddi team are waiting in rickshaws to reach their house. The people who market the sport are also partly at fault and our narrowness in sporting appreciation is also at fault. Have we ever paid much attention to sports other than cricket?

Well, how does Kolaveri di and Kabaddi match? Good question, I don't have a concrete answer either. Both of them have deep origins in Tamil Nadu and both of them are successful. It's just that I find extreme reactions for achievements in different types of art/talent perplexing.

I am extremely happy that the hardwork behind the music album has become a rage but I am also deeply affected by the state of affairs of our proud world champions. On one side, you have a single song that is catching the attention of the world. On the other, you have the world champions sitting around listening to the songs on the street.

Both deserve their successes but recognition in this case seems to be a one way street, somehow.

(The author can be reached on his Facebook page)


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More about Sriram Balasubramanian

Sriram Balasubramanian is a Journalist, voracious reader, avid Blogger, social enthusiast and a believer in excellence not mediocrity. With an inherent passion towards journalism and writing, he believes in playing the "Straight Drive" all the time. Besides this, he has a MS in Engineering Management and has played Chess for Singapore.

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