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Dhanush conquers Bollywood, then YouTube

December 15, 2011 |  6:09 pm


Canada has Justin Bieber, the U.S. has Rebecca Black, and now India has found its own YouTube singing sensation.

Tamil film star Dhanush became a trending topic on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube after an audio clip for his song  “Why this Kolaveri Di” leaked a couple of weeks before its official release in November. The song, recorded in Tanglish (a mix of English and Tamil), was originally slated to be one of many tracks in his upcoming film "3," but since it took on a life of its own, Sony Music India put a crude video to the track and it's garnered more than 23 million views worldwide. The track now serves as the lead single on the soundtrack as well.

The 28-year-old, born Venkatesh Prabhu Kasthuri Raja, is a well-known actor in India who only began experimenting with singing his own songs this year. It's unusual, because most Bollywood film actors lip-sync to vocal tracks recorded by professional singers (it's referred to as "playback" singing).

The video clip shows him in the studio "recording" the track (i.e. lip-syncing to his own leaked song). It's reminiscent of the viral video “Chocolate Rain,” which unlike Black’s “Friday,” has lyrics we’d actually want to sing along with, even if it's not exactly clear what they mean. We do know, however, that “Kolaveri” means "murderous rage" and is a popular slang term used by Tamil youth -- and now half of India and the world.

Dhanush’s single -- which he reportedly made up in 20 minutes -- has even gotten play from a few dozen radio stations, likely due to the aggressive promotional push from Sony Music India.

Plenty of remixes and covers of the original have sprouted online, including one in Punjabi, a house mix, a superb R&B version and a too-cute-for-words take from an infant.

Check out the original below.


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Photo: Dhanush. Credit: Courtesy of Sony Music India