To get their road safety message across to the youth, the Chennai traffic police have come up with a peppy song. Salai vidhiyayai madhichipaaru, saavae ilama nilaichu vaazhu (Obey traffic rules, lead a long life), sings popular musician Gaana Bala in a video (above), interspersed with footage of millennials being reckless on motorcycles and in cars, and images of fatal accidents and funerals.
Written by Bala, the song remixes the hit Padichu Pathen from the 2007 Tamil film Polladhavan, starring actor Dhanush. It checklists all that we need to be careful about while on the road, from drunk-driving and triple-riding to not wearing seat belts and helmets. Invoking the Hindu god of death, Yama, Bala sings, “...after buying a vehicle on EMIs, don’t mess with Yama”.
While the intent of the video is noble, perhaps it goes a bit far in suggesting that parents should hit their children if they refuse to obey traffic rules.
“Parents have the right to correct their children when they go wrong. They should insist their children obey traffic rules,” Chennai police commissioner AK Viswanathan told BBC Tamil.