A multilingual musical statement

Multiple renditions of the song vouch for Kolaveri Di's global popularity

Image Credit: Supplied
Gulf News

Dubai: Addictive, outstanding, and unbelievable are a few adjectives of the thousands used to describe the internet hit song Why this Kolaveri di, but the validation of its global success comes from one fact — its multilingual renditions.

Faez Zahoor Choudhary, a Pakistani based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, released an Arabic version last month, rewriting the lyrics to highlight sponsorship issues faced by expatriates.

Last month, Emirati artist Mohammad Abedin saw the original Tanglish Why this Kolaveri di (Why this rage, girl?) video on YouTube. He told Gulf News, "It was viral on Facebook too. People who shared it happen to do so thinking that the title song means ‘why the every day phone calls'. I did a bit of research and realised that it was about murderous rage. Recently at my cousin's wedding, I was told that all the ladies were dancing to the same track."

Shamim Kassibawi, a Kiwi Arab, told Gulf News, "I am surprised that it is a global phenomenon. I know people in the music industry who are still trying to figure out how the song has become such a hit."

Varied spin-offs

The song has made a multilingual musical statement — it has been sung in various languages, including regional Indian languages Punjabi, Konkani, Bengali, Kanada and Gujarati, and foreign languages Dutch, Spanish, French and Mandarin. It has also spun off into animated takes, based on Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Tom and Jerry as well as creative renditions based on various subjects like examination and software.

The original version, sung by South Indian actor Dhanush and composed by South Indian composer Anirudh Ravichander, is the soundtrack of the Tamil film ‘3' due for release next month. The movie marks Aishwarya's directorial debut. She is South Indian superstar Rajinikanth's daughter and Dhanush's wife. The track was released on November 16, 2011 by Sony Music India Channel.

Unstoppable success

UAE nightclubs are privy to the song's popularity, and according to Radio2 Presenter Rakesh Thomas, the song is played at UAE nightclubs. He told Gulf News, "It isn't a club mix, rather an easy-listening, upbeat number. It is the song's catchy beat more than its lyrics that has made it so popular."

Why this Kolaveri di's breathless popularity defies reason — Sony's marketing strategy, easy tune, folk instruments… Its success is exemplified further with endorsements from publishers like CNN, BBC, The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.

 

Lyrics: saudi version

Why this, let it be, let it be, let it be,

This sponsor wears all white, heart is all black,

Every day he blabbers on, he is a greedy person,

Why this, let it be, let it be, let it be,

I have no money, I have no food,

I am a poor man, I weep.

No rest, no sleep, what is this, habeebi?

Why this, let it be, let it be, let it be,

Baba, baba, baba, this sponsor is troublesome,

Man in background:

This person is refusing to transfer my sponsorship.

Spoken: I will change this now.

How much is the raise?

Must be Arabic.

Lots of work, no salary, where is my salary?

Make tea, wash car, clean the house,

Director, human, human, I am a human, not an animal

Sponsor, mama, mama, my mama is very tired

This man is not good, what did you do? Tell me.

I don't want to work with you anymore,

I want to return to my country.

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