Tunak Tunak Tun

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"Tunak Tunak Tun"
Song by Daler Mehndi
from the album Tunak Tunak Tun
Released1998
GenreBhangra, Indi-pop
LabelMagnasound
Songwriter(s)Daler Mehndi
Music video
"Tunak Tunak Tun" on YouTube
Multiple images of Daler Mehndi performing the distinctive dance move.

"Tunak Tunak Tun" (Punjabi: ਤੁਣਕ ਤੁਣਕ ਤੁਣ) or simply "Tunak", is a Bhangra/Indi-pop song by Indian Punjabi artist Daler Mehndi, released in 1998. The music video was the first made in India using greenscreen technology.[1]

The song and video was a success in India, cementing Mehndi's status as India's biggest popstar at the time.[2] It later became an international success,[2] especially after it became an internet meme in the 2000s.[3][4]

Background[edit]

The "Tunak Tunak Tun" lyrics is a reference to the sounds made by a tumbi (also called a tumba), a traditional musical instrument from the Punjab region of the northern Indian subcontinent.[5]

At the time, critics complained that Mehndi's music was only popular due to his videos that featured beautiful women dancing.[1][non-primary source needed] Mehndi's response was to create a video that featured only himself. The music video was the first made in India using greenscreen technology,[1] which allowed the singer to superimpose his image over various computer-generated backgrounds such as desert and mountain landscapes and St. Basil's Cathedral.

The music video was produced on a then unprecedented budget of 25 million[6] ($610,000),[7] equivalent to ₹80 million ($1.23 million) adjusted for inflation.

Music video[edit]

The music video follows a simple plot about four men, all played by Mehndi, who all represent the four classical elements and dress in lavish Indian clothing; the earth Mehndi wears pink/maroon, the fire Mehndi wears orange, the wind Mehndi wears brown, and the water Mehndi wears green. The men start off as comets made of water, dirt, air, and fire and transform into clothed human men and each of the men takes turns singing, dancing, and pointing at each other like they are discussing something. The men are later revealed to have been planning to fuse with one another and become one man, and they do so by first reverting into their comet state and then merge to form Daler Mehndi who is predominantly wearing yellow and green. The video ends at this point.

As of October 2018, the music video has received over 100 million views on the Sony Music India channel at YouTube.[8]

Reception[edit]

The song and the music video received a negative review from Rashtriya Sahara magazine in 1998.[9] Despite this, the song became a commercial success in 1998, becoming the biggest Indi-pop hit at the time.[2]

International popular culture[edit]

By 1999, the song found an international cult following, particularly among South Asian diaspora in countries such as the United Kingdom and United States, as well as in Far-Eastern markets such as Japan.[2]

In the 2000s, "Tunak Tunak Tun" found greater international popularity on the internet as a viral video. In response, the video game company Blizzard Entertainment incorporated the "Tunak Tunak Tun" dance as a character animation in their multiplayer role-playing game World of Warcraft in 2008.[10] This dance is also included as an easter egg in the video game Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Spearhead.[11]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2016) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 28

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Tunak Tunak Tun". dalermehndi.com. Archived from the original on 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  2. ^ a b c d "Bhangra Beat Transforms Indipop Scene". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. 111 (39): 101. 25 September 1999.
  3. ^ Rizwan, Sahil (December 5, 2016). "How Daler Mehndi's "Tunak Tunak Tun" Became A Global Viral Phenomenon". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  4. ^ AnjaliGera, Roy (2016). Bhangra Moves: From Ludhiana to London and Beyond. New York: Routledge. p. 91. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Coffee Run!!! ft. Daler Mehndi! (4 minutes)". YouTube. deadmau5. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Better luck next time: Daler Mehndi". Rashtriya Sahara. Sahara India Mass Communication. 6 (7–12): 147. 1998. With sum of Rs 2.5 Crores Daler was supposed to make Music Video.
  7. ^ "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average)". World Bank. 1997. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Daler Mehndi - Tunak Tunak Tun Video on YouTube
  9. ^ "Better luck next time: Daler Mehndi". Rashtriya Sahara. Sahara India Mass Communication. 6 (7–12): 147. 1998.
  10. ^ "Daler Mehndi Tunaks his way into World of Warcraft". asiancorrespondent.com/. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault: Spearhead Easter Egg - Make the Player Models Dance".
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be - Daler Mehndi - Tunak Tunak Tun". Ultratop. Retrieved 2016-07-03.