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Hit and Run

What explains the quick rise and an even quicker fall in the popularity of recent film songs.

Written by Rohan Swamy |
December 8, 2011 12:02:40 am

Kolaveri Di has already enjoyed a three-week-long successful run. “The response to the song has been amazing but we realise that the run-time will phase out soon,” says Anirudh Ravichander,music director of the upcoming Tamil film 3 and one of the brains behind Kolaveri Di.

There seems to be a pattern. Ahead of a film’s release,a song is repeatedly served up through radio and television channels till it becomes popular and catchy. Once the film releases,the once-so-popular song is pushed aside by a newer track. The cycle repeats itself. From Bhaag DK Bose and Character Dheela Hai to the Munnis and Sheilas and the recent Sadda Haq and Chammak Challo,they’ve all been part of this 15-day popularity cycle.

“Songs today have a short life span because the listener has an even shorter listening span. In fact,most of the hit songs in recent times have disappeared quickly,mainly due to the reluctance of the music directors to spend quality time with the team to develop melodious music,” says playback singer Shaan.

The marketing and hype add to the popularity of the songs by arousing the curiosity of the listeners. This popularity has little to do with the lyrical content,believes Shaan. “Take the case of the sleeper hit Kolaveri Di. The first week probably had those listeners,who really liked the song,glued to it. Soon,many others got hooked because of the curiosity and hype it had generated,” he says.

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Internet and social networking sites fuel the hype surrounding a new track before the film’s release. Some even attribute the blockbuster openings of certain films to that one hit song. “In most cases,songs are made to promote the film. We never expected Kolaveri Di to become this big,but now that it has,I am hoping the film itself will do very well,” says Ravichander.

The songs that go off the charts as quickly as they come,have given rise to a new breed of musicians,singers and lyricists who are comfortable with this short-lived popularity. Vayu Srivastav,who wrote the lyrics for RGV’s films Rann,Rakht Charitra 1&2 and Not Just a Love Story,says,“This phenomenon is a good thing for first-time musicians. What needs to be seen is if they get a second or a third shot at popularity.”

The trend may be catching up but Srivastav also feels that poetry seems to be phasing out in mainstream cinema,wherein songs are add-ons to promote a film “Few relate to heavy poetry now and serious content now. The emphasis for musicians is not on creating new content but only on designing content. There is no originality but one cannot help it. If people like it,filmmakers are going to make it,” says Srivastav .

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