The lockdown due to Covid-19 has spurred several Tamil artistes to come up with public awareness songs. Music has always been a great tool for positive propaganda. From street-side ‘gaana’ singers who talk about the empowerment of repressed castes to songs in mass hero films exhorting Thamizhans to rule the world, we have heard them all. But, in times of an acute crisis like this, we might prefer public awareness songs that stick to science and rationality. Below is a list of Coronavirus awareness songs in Tamil, from the rational and the sentimental to the hopelessly confused, ranked by how accurate and practically useful they are to the public.
8: ‘Hello hello’ (Srikanth Deva–Sandy)
Composed by Srikanth Deva and sung by choreographer Sandy, this song has both medical advice (‘wash your hands’) and anecdotal suggestions (‘drink nilavembu kashaayam’). It is unabashedly Sinophobic, though, and blames China for our woes.
China-kaaran saaptadhukku naanga kaiya kazhuvanumaa
Neenga panna paavathukku naanga bayandhu nadunganumaa
Useful messages on personal hygiene notwithstanding, this one has quite a lot of misinformation. It’s less about awareness and more about playing victim.
7: ‘Bayam vendaam’ (Iniyavan)
This one is a rousing ‘mass’ song and is about superficiality and empty bravado. It even suggests that beating Corona will help beat the problem of caste in society, without really explaining now. The only practical advice in the song is “Don’t touch anyone”.
Engal raththam mannil veezaadhey
Thamizhan saththam endrum oyaadhey
A generic song, that is neither emotional satisfying nor practically useful.
6: ‘Maname maname’ (Shakthi Chellam-Varshan)
This one isn’t really an awareness song. It is geared towards lifting up spirits. It talks about not being overly nationalistic in these times, and yet hints at nations using science for global destruction. It also daftly suggests that had all of us loved each other, this would have never happened! Loving each other is very good, but remember to notice the next time you pass by a virus on the street — it doesn’t have a heart.
Yella uyiraiyum nesiththaal
Ippadi yedhuvum nadakkadhey
This well-intentioned, but confused song, talks about humanism and international brotherhood. Nothing about how to keep humans from getting infected by the virus.
5: ‘Corona Corona’ (Vairamuthu–SP Balasubrahmanyam)
Written by Vairamuthu and set to tune by SP Balasubrahmanyam, this song has little practical to offer except asking people to isolate themselves. It also takes creative liberties, suggesting the virus is smaller than an atom (anu) to contrast its size with its effects that can be devastating as an atom bomb (anu gundu). And for those looking for emotional strength in these difficult times, the song has some lines addressed to the heroes of tomorrow.
Konjam achcham niraiya arivu
Irandum kolvom idhaiyum velvom
This is less a Corona awareness song, and more a poetic take on the current situation.
4: ‘Vizhithiru Thanithiru’ (C Sathya)
Composed by C Sathya and written by Inzamam-Ul-Haq, this song essentially uses the current crisis as a peg to talk about hope and humanism. Sung by Sathyaprakash and other singers, it also briefly highlights taking a scientific approach, and being cautious.
Panindhiru, adaindhiru, un uravugaludan nee neram pagirnthiru
Idhuvum kadhandhu pogum nanba, urudhiyaai iru nenjodu
The most well-produced song in this list, the song sounds and looks great. Not very useful in terms of information, but a song to loop when feeling blue in isolation.
3: ‘Unnai kaakkum neram idhu’ (Seenu Ramasamy)
Written by director Seenu Ramasamy and composed by NR Raghunanthan, the song is poignant and hopeful, suggesting that those who isolate themselves when unwell are special, because they care about the well-being of the larger community. It also talks about following guidelines on social distancing and staying at home.
Muththam vendaam, parakkum muththam iduvom
Kaikulukka vendaam, kai asaithaal podhum
Uraiyaadal paruga irendu metre idaiveli tharuga
The song poetically communicates important aspects of social distancing. It’s emotional without empty sentimentality.
2: ‘Kolaikaara Corona’ (Parai artiste Manimaran)
The song written by Manimaran and performed by members of his Buddhar Kalai Kuzhu, talks mainly about ignoring rumours, and avoiding both excessive fear and carelessness. It emphasises the importance of awareness about proven scientific facts about the virus. For instance, there is a conversation in the song about whether it is safe to consume meat during the lockdown (yes, it is). It speaks of the importance of wearing masks, washing hands, and eating foods that improve immunity.
Vadhandhigal vendaam, vambadigal vendaam
Alatchiyam vendaam, achchap-padavum vendaam
An awareness song that focusses on rational understanding of the disease, following guidelines, and avoiding rumour mongering.
1: ‘Paazha pona Corona-va thurathanum’ (Gaana Bala)
Tamil singer Gaana Bala’s Covid awareness song, written for the Tamil Nadu Police Department, highlights the importance of respecting the lockdown. He laments the behaviour of those who ignore guidelines and hit the streets. The song talks about the sacrifices of doctors, who are in the forefront of fighting the disease, and also paints a benevolent portrait of the police for their role in spreading public awareness. Gaana Bala ends with a timely warning to those overconfident people who imagine the virus will spare them while infecting others!
Veetukkulla adangithana irukkanum
Nadu roattukku nee varuvadha-thaan niruthanum
Meeri veliya vandha beddula dhaan padukkanum
Devoid of sentimentality, this is an effective awareness song that has messages for the public on adhering to Government guidelines on isolation and personal hygiene. It also has a damn catchy tune.