The PGP and PGPX students of the contemporary Film Industry Course at IIMA attended a lecture by Dhanush, the actor and producer of the upcoming movie 3, and Anirudh, the young 21 year old music director of ‘Kolaveri Di’.
Dhanush and Anirudh, each spoke individually first and then fielded questions from the students. Dhanush started the talk and speaking with much humility, said thdat they did not anticipate the success of ‘Kolaveri Di’ and said that he would be surprised if he saw it repeated in his lifetime. He said that he believed that the simplicity of the songs lyrics and the fact that all the words but ‘Kolaveri Di’ were in English contributed to the songs success. He also said that although the monetization through the songs was limited for him as a producer, since the song rights had been sold in advance to Sony, ‘Kolaveri Di’ has helped him gather national fame. As a consequence of the songs popularity, the release of the movie is planned now in three language- Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. Moreover, from the distribution of about 400 prints planned initially, the movie will now release with over 1000 prints.
Speaking on the issue of viral marketing, he most candidly said that much of it was unplanned. Following, the release of an incomplete stolen version of the song online, their team decided to release the song online. They initially aimed at about 5 lakh hits over the songs lifetime, however, managed to touch that number in less than 5 days! The hits for ‘Kolaveri Di’ today stand at over 42 million. Dhanush said that Viral Marketing, if capitalized right, is indeed a great way to gain popularity, given the minimal expenses involved in promotion.
Next it was Anirudh’s turn to speak-among India’s youngest music directors at 21. Addressing the audience as his ‘seniors’, he shared an anecdote about his father’s desire to have him study at the IIMs and how his father was left speechless, when he told him that he would be lecturing this class. Anirudh spoke of some issues related to the music rights for movies in India, highlighting that no proper system for royalty exists here unlike in some western countries. He also expressed how he felt fortunate at already receiving offers from Bollywood, when several music directors spend years trying to cross over.
Dhanush and Anirudh also fielded questions from the audience. In response to one of the questions, Dhanush said that they had learnt much from the success of ‘Kolaveri Di’- including about the sale of music rights as well as purchasing rights to key words in a song at the appropriate time. In response to another question they said that, given the number of hits on ‘You Tube’ and emails and tweets that they have received, the song has definitely cut across boundaries and reached an international audience.
Towards the end, Dhanush and Anirudh sang ‘Kolaveri Di’ with the students., with enthusiastic participation.