Dream

Is Viral Mania Behind ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’ For Real?

Posted on: December 25, 2011

We live in strange times. Nobody would have thought that the Internet was going to change the way we lived as drastically as this. Everything is available in abundance, right from food to clothes to films to music to news channels to swanky shopping malls to various gizmos to cars to bikes to air flights to bank ATMs. Sometimes one wonders isn’t what we have more than enough? Is there really so much of demand?  Perhaps nobody seems to care except the manufacturers. Now since the demand and supply ratio is skewed in terms of more supply and less demand, enter petty marketing gimmicks masquerading as controversies. To spread the words like a wildfire the social networking sites are used with impunity. How? The latest example that comes to mind is that of the hit Tamil number “why this kolaveri di”.

The so-called marketing moghuls have coined a new term for the online marketing which has come to be known as “viral marketing”. The example of “why this kolaveri di” is being given to the students of IIM-A and IIM-B. The concept of viral marketing is the new in thing. Well, all said and done but the fact remains that a mediocre product like “why this kolaveri di” doesn’t become a great product just because the experiment of viral marketing has succeeded in fooling people into believing that they are listening to a masterpiece.

“Why this kolaveri di” has been into the news ever since the video of this number hit the you tube a few weeks ago. First came the famous tweet from none other than the super star Amitabh Bachchan himself  praising the number. If any music lover who understands even a little bit of good music will agree that “why this kolaveri di” doesn’t sound pleasing at all. Neither it has a great tune nor soothing voice nor memorable and sweet words. Then why did Mr. Bachchan go out of his way to praise “why this kolaveri di”. If that was not enough, soon Junior Bachchan followed in his dad’s footsteps by tweeting now listening to “why this kolaveri di”.

As soon as these tweets made their way into the cyberspace, “why this kolaveri di” became a juggernaut that got a life of its own and went on to roll without coming to a halt. It has reportedly broken all the records. The success of “why this kolaveri di” has even prompted the famous singer Sonu Nigam to launch his toddler son as a singer with a funny version of  the number. All sorts of weird things are happening thanks to “why this kolaveri di”. No programme is complete without referring to “why this kolaveri di” on TV. No newspaper article is considered readable if it doesn’t mention “why this kolaveri di” once at least. The wave of “why this kolaveri di” has swept across the country. I’ve heard many people asking those who are angry or complaining about something, “Why this kolaveri di?” It appears as though the expression “Why are you angry?” has been replaced with “Why this kolaveri di?” successfully.

However, the “why this kolaveri di” phenomenon indeed found a fierce critic in the renowned Mr Javed Akhtar who tweeted tarnishing it in no uncertain terms. Sadly his criticism appeared a tad too late. When it came, it did find a few takers. But the number had already gone on to  become a big hit and saying anything against it had become an anathema.

The times we live in are made up of artificial appreciation. To sell a product all sorts of gimmicks are employed. An Amitabh Bachchan has to praise a jarring tune to make it super hit. A Karan Johan has to appreciate a silly flick Ra-One on twitter to keep his buddy in good humour. Somewhere a fake account of Mr Bachchan appears online to trash a big budget sci-fi flick and to drive a wedge between the two super-stars. Most of the things are happening online. If you are not on twitter or on facebook, you have not arrived yet. Having an account on either twitter or on facebook has become as necessary as holding a ration card.

Where is all this leading us? Are we becoming better humans? Is the world becoming a safer and a better place to live in just because twitter is the place where all the action seems to be taking place? The answers are a big no. As in real world, in virtual world too the double standards are rampant. There are a few people with large number of followers of who call the shots. They can say any nasty thing and get away but a lesser mortal (read with no followers) cannot. He gets reported as a spam immediately and twitter too dismisses his account without any delay.

As long as the likes of Mr Bachchans and Mr Johars are around with huge virtual following to boast of, the mediocre numbers and flicks will find many takers. They will even succeed in creating new records too. But few days down the line nobody will remember them. Who cares for “Darling aankho se aankhe chaar karke lo….” or “Bhaag bhaag DK Boss….” now? Just a few months back hadn’t they taken the whole world by storm as thought there was no tomorrow?

A big salute to the marketing jargon like “Viral Marketing”. It has indeed changed the way we look at the world. Selling got a little easier. Long live twitter and the followers of celebs. Let the controversies rule the roost. Who cares for the quality nowadays? More than the quality the product in question ought to make it to the list of trending topics on twitter and stay there for a couple of days. That makes it a hit automatically. So much for the so-called viral marketing.

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