Sunday, June 16, 2024

Naatu Naatu wins Oscar: But that’s not alone a reason to cheer

RRR came, saw and absolutely conquered the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Naatu Naatu won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

The Oscars were awarded to composer MM Keeravaani, who sang a version of The Carpenters’ hit Top Of The World as his acceptance speech, and lyricist Chandrabose. The insanely viral track is from RRR, directed by SS Rajamouli and featuring actors Ram Charan and Jr NTR, all of whom attended the Academy Awards. 

Naatu Naatu beat a slate of heavy-weight competitors – Lady Gaga’s Hold My Hand from Top Gun: Maverick, Rihanna’s Lift Me Up from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, This Is A Life from Everything Everywhere All At Once, and Applause from Tell It Like A Woman.

It was the second win for an Indian film – The Elephant Whisperers won Best Documentary Short Subject. All That Breathes was also nominated for Best Documentary Feature Film – the Oscar went to Navalny.

Naatu Naatu’s global domination is now complete, having also won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in January. The song was performed live during the Oscar ceremony by singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, and danced by Lauren Gottlieb. Deepika Padukone, the third Indian to attend as a presenter after Persis Khambatta and Priyanka Chopra, introduced the performance.

MM Keeravaani and Chandrabose join a select group of Indians to have previously won Oscars – costume designer Bhanu Athaiya, composer AR Rahman, lyricist Gulzar, sound engineer Resul Pookutty, and legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray who received an honorary award. Naatu Naatu is the first Indian song – and RRR is the first Indian film – to have won an Oscar.

RRR, set in British India, has won hearts across the world – it’s running to full houses in Japan and recently held its largest screening yet in a Los Angeles cinema where the audience danced along to Naatu Naatu. 

The song, filmed outside the Presidential Palace in pre-war Kyiv, Ukraine, is an infectious dance battle between Ram Charan and Jr NTR’s characters, Raju and Bheem, versus their British counterparts. Raju and Bheem are the last men standing, sorry dancing, after their complicated routine bests their opponents.

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