Tale of a Savant

“Nowadays Tamil songs where got meaning?! All nonsensical lyrics. Can’t beat the sixties..”

I hear this line from my father ever so often. For a long time, it was hard to argue with him. With songs celebrating women coming of age, how could I? Resistance was futile. It was, until one November evening.

I remember that day clearly, the 16th of November 2011. A date which will go down in history as the start of a musical revolution. A lyricist to rival the great lyricists of times gone by, a singer whose voice inspired millions worldwide. While the musicians of that bygone era usually specialised in one field alone, this genius of our time could both write and sing. A musical savant, if there ever was one. Dhanush.

Why This Kolaveri Di. These words rung loud and clear across the globe like no song ever before. The song was written in colloquial Tanglish, the love child of Tamil and English. Like all hit Tamil songs, it was based on the theme of love, love failure to be specific. However this isnt just any hit Tamil song, it is THE hit Tamil song. But why? Why did such a simple song written in just 20 minutes, the time it takes to score 4 goals against Arsenal, become such a hit?

Some say the music transcends barriers, I say the feelings that this piece of art elicits are due to its lyrics. As Sean Paul would say, ‘And me lyrics ah provide electricity’. Relatable, humourous,catchy. These are the ingredients needed to create the perfect little girls attributes which have made it such a hit.

White skin-u girl-u girl-u
Girl-u heart-u black-u
Eyes-u eyes-u meet-u meet-u
My future dark

It may seem like Dhanush writes simplistically about how his desire for a fair skinned girl ruins his life as he did not anticipate her less than ideal character. I say, there is a much deeper meaning here. We are not giving him enough credit! He is cleverly referring to Indian society’s obsession with fair skin. With products such as Fair and Lovely, Fair and Handsome dominating the cosmetic market, he is making a statement. Fair not necessarily equals good.

What’s that? I’m overanalysing? If so, just refer to the first stanza of the song.

Distance-la moon-u moon-u.

Moon-u colour-u white-u

White-u background night-u night-u

Night-u colour black-u

Just like in countless pieces of literature before, the moon is seen as an object of beauty. It seems unattainable due to the large distance involved. However, the lyrics imply that while everyone concentrates on the beauty of the moon, it is surrounded by darkness, usually representing evil. This reading is supported by the lines about the white hearted girl being evil. So tell me now, AM I OVERANALYZING OR IS THIS SONG GENIUS?!

Guy gets spurned by girl, guy gets drunk, guy sings,46 million people watch. Who would’ve thought it’s THAT simple?


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