‘Naatu Naatu’ Creates Oscar History, Wins Best Original SongMar 13, 2023 | Pratirodh Bureau
“Naatu Naatu”, the peppy, foot-tapping chartbuster from SS Rajamouli’s Telugu period action film “RRR”, waltzed its way to history by becoming the first Indian track to win the Academy Award in the Best Original Song category.
“Naatu Naatu”, “Naacho Naacho” in Hindi, is composed by MM Keeravaani and penned by Chandrabose.
“I grew up listening to The Carpenters and now here I am with the Oscars. There was only one wish on my mind, so was Rajamouli’s and our families’ — ‘RRR’ has to win… Pride of every Indian… must put me on the top of the world,” Keeravani said in tune to The Carpenters’ much loved 1970s song “Top of the World”.
Chandrabose simply signed off with a “Namaste” at the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
“Naatu Naatu” was nominated alongside “Applause” from ‘Tell It Like a Woman’, “Hold My Hand” from ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, “Lift Me Up” from ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ and “This Is a Life” from ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’.
This is the third major international recognition for the Telugu song after Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award wins. The film’s team described the win as a “surreal moment”.
“We’re blessed that #RRRMovie is the first feature film to bring INDIA’s first ever #Oscar in the Best Song Category with #NaatuNaatu! No words can describe this surreal moment. Dedicating this to all our amazing fans across the world. THANK YOU!! JAI HIND!” read the post on the official Twitter page of “RRR”.
“RRR” (Rise Roar Revolt), a pre-independence fictional story, follows two real-life Indian revolutionaries – Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR) – in the 1920s.
“Naatu Naatu” celebrates the inclusive spirit of dance and bonhomie and features Charan and Jr NTR matching steps to its catchy rhythm. The title of the track translates to bucolic in Telugu. It demonstrates the spirit of fun in country music in its runtime of 4.35 minutes.
“Jai Ho” from the 2008 British film “Slumdog Millionaire”, directed by Danny Boyle, was the first Hindi song to win an Academy Award in the Best Original Score and Original Song categories. It was composed by AR Rahman and penned by Gulzar.
“Whatever wins up there, an Indian thing, is going to raise the profile of India. I love that song,” Rahman told PTI ahead of Oscar 2023.
Rajamouli said in an interview recently that choreographer Prem Rakshith came up with over “100 variations” of the hook step for the song. “Naatu Naatu” singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kala Bhairava also performed the song at the Oscars ceremony.
The cross-cultural popularity of ‘Naatu Naatu’ has come as a refreshing boost for Indian cinema on the world platform. So what is the secret behind the overwhelming popularity of ‘Naatu Naatu’ among commoners and critics alike?
Speaking to IANS earlier, song lyricist Chandrabose had pointed to the strong nativity elements and proximity to cultural roots as the reasons behind ‘Naatu Naatu’ overwhelming acceptance and global popularity.
“Local has become global. The time has come for us to present our traditions, our culture, our practices to the world. Real art is all about spreading our native culture worldwide. That is the real intention of art. A song born out of our culture, traditions, practices, and land is ruling the world and has transcended boundaries. That’s the secret of its success,” he elaborated.
For lead actor Ram Charan, who featured in the song along with Jr NTR, it is the drama and emotions brimming in the song that struck a chord with global audiences.
“The song has reached the Oscars because of the drama, and the emotions that underline the song. The camaraderie, the brotherhood on display, the yin and yang that the two leading men represent … everything went into making the song so special,” he told Sam Fragoso of the ‘Talk Easy’ show in Los Angeles.
As opposed to a majority of songs that are inserted routinely in most Indian movies, ‘Naatu Naatu’ plays a significant role in establishing several aspects of the story. This has also been a major factor in the song’s popularity. Added to this, the fervour of the ruled against the domination of the rulers in the story, has also clicked with audiences.