(Continued from previous post…)
A couple of my gal pals, who were with us on Saturday, used the word dandanakka (seemingly condescendingly) a couple of times to refer to the Tamil and Telugu songs that I mentioned earlier. I don’t blame them. That’s just their opinion. But then again, what is it that prevents us from putting quality music from the urban spreads of South India alongside what a fat 40 something (read Daler Mehendi) or a sure shot winner of the “Stevie Wonder” look alike contest in Vegas (Sukhbir, for all you young kids who are unsure about who Stevie Wonder is) dishes out from a studio in rural Rohtak or the ghettos in Southall?
Personal preferences do matter !
For me, the images (and the ease of the steps used) from a particular video are the catalysts to my liking the track. And some artistes seem to inspire me repeatedly. Deva (in particular his gaana songs) is one of my favorites. And being a Thalaivar fan, I put his intro songs in the same plane as Deva’s gaana. I am known to do a mean impression of Thalaivar in his intro songs in Arunachalam and Baasha. Sequences choreographed by Raju Sundaram (and Prabhudeva to a certain extent) are also close to my heart (and my feet).
Does sex play a role ?
Most “footloose” guys that I know have no qualms in dancing to these songs. So is it just possible that the repulsive mental images (1) that Tamil and Telugu songs sometimes leave with ladies are preventing the adoption of these tracks when it comes to the dance floor?
Do lyrics / video choreography matter ?
A lot of us seem to relate such songs with outrageous lyrics. I am not sure, but I think the lyrics part is over rated. There are songs that fit this profile, for example, the outrageously worded Thunda Kanum, Thuniya Kanum, Thooki Paatha.. (all you Tamil speaking junta should thank god that I haven’t gone ahead and given the whole line), but in actuality, most of these songs have very simple lyrics with colloquial language that everybody can understand. No more hunting for a Tamil dictionary to decipher what “attraith thingal annilavil netriththarala neervadiya kotrappoigai aadiyaval neeyaa” means. On the contrary, even someone like me, with just the rudimentary knowledge of pure Tamil can understand “Kandhan irukkum idam kandha thottam, enga annan irukkum idam Poes Thottam” and also can dance to it! And it seems to me that it is only those people who swear by Marshall Mathers, who raise their eyebrows at the likes of Thunda Kanum.
Go figure! As for choreography, again, it is very simple and sometimes such songs can involve intricate choreography to tell you things that you don’t expect to see. For example, you can check out the video for Kathadikidhu Kathadikidhu (from Ninaivirrukum Varai). Just when you think you are seeing a dozen guys gyrating under the influence of IMFL (and water), you see a carefully choreographed depiction of the abduction of Seetha by Ravana, straight from the Ramayana! Now, if that’s not poeticism, what is?
There could be one more possible reason for the bias. But it is perhaps the most touchy. Some people that I know claim that there is a distinct bias against everything South Indian. People claim that Hindi speaking Indians look down upon South Indians (as evidence they point to the typical “stupid South Indian” character made popular by the likes of Mehmood in Bollywood) and this has led to same bias against “Madrasi” tracks. While I think that some of this might be true, but it certainly does not seem to be the case completely. And that is because I know some people (as does CM) from Chennai and elsewhere in South India who that think anybody who professes a liking for Deva’s gaana, are pariahs. So, the condescending attitude is not limited only to people from North India.
In the real world, can anything be attributed to one single reason? There is always more than one reason. Suderman has been talking about looking at this issue from the journalist’s point of view and I am looking forward to seeing if he comes up with any angles.
But one thing is sure. There is a niche in the market for South Indian music that is virtually untouched – Remixes. I know the remix industry thrives on Bhangra and Hindi tracks (from the 60s, 70s and the 80s). Would remixing some South Indian tracks would help to give them a more international flavor, like the infusion of reggae and rap interludes in Punjabi tracks has done?But it needs two things – A DJ who loves “dandanaka” music (and thinks he can do something positive with it) and an adventurous music company with money to burn. Mebbe the time’s not far away when both these things happen. I certainly am waiting for the day that I shall listen to Deva crooning Whitu Lagaan Kozhi with techno beats accompanying it.
My advice to everyone is – forget the language, forget the lyrics, channel your concentration on to the accompanying beats and I am sure you will wanna start moving your legs. Though my father might not approve of such songs, he would not approve of Snoop “Doggy” Dee Ohh Double G either. So if you wanna say that Deva churns out offensive songs, think twice when you sing along with Eminem. And if you think you’d like to dance to Usher’s Yeah (Hell yeah, Usher rocks!), try dancing to Thottu Thottu Pesum Sultana. I am sure you will have the same fun. And ya, before you start, you might wanna take some lessons on moving to such songs. But, don’t worry. It’s not too much trouble. I’d enjoy teaching you (particularly if you are a lady). So do you think you are upto it? Tell me when you are.
And when you are ready, I hope to start hearing more and more of these songs played by DJs.
Till such time, I will be content watching Simran grind and roll her hips in tune to Aal Thotta Bhoopathi. I am not complaining at all. And neither will you, once you get to watch the video. And that is partly why I go to temples once in a while, to thank Him for his divine deeds.
 For example, the midriff barring costume of Simran in Aatakavala and the gyrations from Chaaya Singh / Dhanush in Manmadha Raasa