Indian songs that went viral and gained fame overseas

A wink picturised on a Mapilla song from Kerala made a hitherto unknown girl from Thrissur, Priya Prakash Varrier, an overnight sensation. Priya even had a fatwa issued against her, while an FIR was filed against the song, which is sung by Muslims from North Kerala, for hurting Muslim sentiments. However, the wink, Priya and the song have been ruling charts ever since its release, with the official video clocking 44.6 million views.

Before Manikya Malaraya Poove, a number of other songs have transcended borders, cultures and languages to rule charts and hearts for various reasons. We take a look at Indian songs which have gone viral and have become a rage throughout the country and overseas.

Why this Kolaveri D: If there was one song that took the nation, and many abroad as well, by storm it was ‘Why this Kolaveri D’. The ‘soup song and a flop song’ sung by a jilted lover in Tamlish, has got 142,723,191 views so far since it was uploaded to YouTube in 2011. The song has been written and sung by Tamil actor Dhanush and composed by Anirudh Ravichander, and is part of the soundtrack of the 2012 Tamil thriller, 3. What worked in its favour was it goofy, slow-paced rendition and colloquial lyrics. The song went on to top charts and had a number of Indian and international cover and parody versions.

Jimmiki Kammal: If 2018 saw the song Manikya Malaraya Poovi become a sensation because of Priya Varrier’s wink, 2017 belonged to another Malayalam song – Jimmiki Kammal. From the film Velipadinte Pusthakam, composed by Shaan Rahman and sung by Vineet Sreenivasan, the song became an internet sensation after a video of Sheril G Kadavan, an accounts teacher from the Indian School of Commerce, Kochi, danced to the song during a programme.

The video was then uploaded to Youtube and has received 19,618,770 views so far. Sheril, who became an overnight sensation, has gathered 25,300 followers on Twitter. The song even found mention in the US when a Twitter follower pointed out the similarity between the song and Jimmy Kimmel’s name. Kimmel then replied that while he had not heard it earlier, he liked the song after listening to it.

Nakka Mukka: From the 2008 Tamil romantic comedy film Kadhalil Vizhunthen, the Tamil song Nakka Mukka became a rage online, for its catchy beats, peppy lyrics and dance moves. The song gained immense popularity after it was played during the opening ceremony of the 2011 cricket World Cup held in Bangladesh. It’s composer, Vijay Antony, also became the first Indian to win the 2009 Cannes Golden Lion for the Nakka Mukka advertising video titled ‘A Day in the Life of Chennai’. The song even had a Beyoncé flavour when a Facebook user posted a video syncing Beyonce’s dance moves with the song.

Ghoomar: The song Ghoomar from the movie Padmaavat gained immense popularity for its beautiful choreography, stunning picturization, music and the controversies surrounding the film Padmaavat and the song. While Deepika Padukone was praised for her beautiful dance in Ghoomar, a section of the public, especially from the Rajput community, protested against the original version of the song, which showed Deepika’s midriff. Since editing out scenes the scenes would interrupt the choreography of the song, the makers resorted to using computer graphics to create a computerised cloth. Nevertheless, the song has gained immense popularity in India and abroad and has garnered 124 million views so far. A group of US cheerleaders even performed on the song during an NBA match, the video of which clocked 2 million views.

These songs went viral even before social media made going viral commonplace:

Awara Hun: From the 1951 Hindi classic, Awaara, starring Raj Kapoor, the melodious Awara Hoon became a huge international hit, crossing borders into China, the Soviet Union and the Middle East. The happy go lucky song of a vagabond captured the hearts of millions the world over. While the song was said to be Chairman Mao’s favourite, in Russia, fans were so much in love with Raj Kapoor and Awara Hoon, that, according to his son Rishi Kapoor, when he once got into a taxi in Moscow, he realised that the taxi was not moving forward but was being carried forward by his Russian fans!

Oruvan Oruvan Mudhalali: Rajnikanth has a cult status in India, but what surprises everyone is his huge fan following in Japan – a nation which has been typically known to be shy, reserved, quiet and formal – everything that the melodramatic superstar is not. It was his 1995 hit Muthu, which features the song Oruvan Oruvan Muthalali, which catapulted him to superstardom in Japan. The movie ran for 182 days in Japan and collected over 200 million Yen. In fact, the Japanese were so fond of the movie, that a dubbed Japanese version was released in 1998.

Mundian To Bach Ke: Originally performed by Punjabi artist Labh Janjua, the bhangra number Mundian To Bach Ke was remixed in 1999 by Punjabi origin British musician Punjabi MC. The song went on to become a worldwide hit, gathering followers and topping charts in Italy and Belgium while gaining much success in other European countries. The song has also found mention in popular culture with TV shows like ER, Entourage and Outsourced.

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