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‘Naatu Naatu’ by ‘RRR’ makes history with original song triumphing at the Oscars 2023

Know … natural? The academy proved it on Sunday night when the heel-heavy “Naatu Naatu” from the Indian blockbuster “RRR” won the Oscar for Original Song, making history in the process.

With music by composer MM Keeravani and lyrics by Chandrabose, the infectious Telugu dance number from director SS Rajamouli’s crossover action hit is the first song from an Indian film to be nominated for and win in its category.

“Thank you, Academy. I grew up listening to the Carpenters, and now here I am with the Oscars,” Keeravani said in his acceptance speech, before starting to sing: “There was only one wish on my mind… ‘RRR’ has to win, pride. . of all the Indians, and must put me on top of the world.”

An elated Ram Charan, who starred in the film, couldn’t stop smiling in the moments after Keeravani and Chandrabose’s Oscar win for “Naatu Naatu.” Along with seeing the song’s high-energy performance on stage tonight, it all feels “like an out-of-body experience,” Charan said as the “RRR” crew arrived in the lobby, already planning their Oscars after-party.

Previously, in 2009, Indian composer AR Rahman’s “Jai Ho” won the Oscar for Original Song for Danny Boyle’s UK production “Slumdog Millionaire”. But the vast majority of winners spanning the almost 90 years of the category’s existence have been English-language songs from Hollywood movies.

Grassroots favorite “Naatu Naatu” had factors in its favor: namely “RRR” stars NT Rama Rao Jr., aka Jr NTR, and Charan, whose charismatic leading turns in the anti-colonialist epic set in the The 1920s stand out in the breathless number that had audiences dancing in the aisles throughout the film’s international stage performances and its wildly popular re-release in the United States.

NT Rama Rao Jr., left, and Ram Charan, pictured in Los Angeles, star in SS Rajamouli’s Tollywood hit “RRR.”

(Ethan Benavidez / For The Times)

The hit song became a popular hit when the “RRR” craze swept the world last year, translated as “Naacho Naacho” in Hindi, “Naattu Koothu” in Tamil, “Halli Naatu” in Kannada and “Karinthol” in Malayalam. .

Recorded by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, “Naatu Naatu” topped songs from four English-language films to win the trophy: “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” sung by pop icon Rihanna; “This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” performed by Mitski; “Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” written by Diane Warren and sung by Sofia Carson; and Lady Gaga’s soaring ballad “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Hold My Hand.”

Sipligunj and Bhairava made their Oscar debut on Sunday performing the song at the 95th Academy Awards, accompanied by a troupe of dancers, with director Rajamouli, Jr NTR stars, and Charan, Keeravani and Chandrabose in the audience. .

Filmed over two weeks in the Ukrainian presidential palace months before the Russian invasion, “Naatu Naatu” unfolds as top freedom fighters Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR) and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Charan) come together in a fast dancing against bullying British rivals. .

The grueling dance scene, choreographed by Prem Rakshith, runs for a continuous four minutes and has over 500 million views on YouTube in multiple languages.