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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 7, 2011 2:13:19 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.

It has become 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 to Character Dheela Hain and from the Munnis and Sheilas to the very recent Sadda Haq and Chammak Challo,they’ve all been part of this 15-day popularity cycle.

Singer Shaan,who has sung a string of successful songs in films such as 3 Idiots ,Fanaa and Taare Zameen Par,says,“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.”

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

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The Internet and social networking sites fuel the hype surrounding a new track before the film’s release. Some even attribute the big openings that some films get 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,” adds Ravichander.

These new 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,lyricists and singers. What needs to be seen is if they get a second or a third shot at popularity.”

Poetry seems to be phasing out in mainstream cinema and no-brainers are taking its place. “It has a lot to do with the lifestyle people have. Few relate to heavy poetry and most like a song that doesn’t have any serious content in it,” Srivastav points out.

Thus,it all boils down to a market-driven strategy wherein songs are add-ons to promote a film. “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,” Srivastav says.

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