Saturday, February 24, 2024

Naatu Naatu gets the musical spotlight back to India

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Amartya Smaran

The much-awaited moment that the entire nation has been looking forward to has finally come true. The reverberating beats of RRR’s Naatu Naatu rippled across continents and won the nation an Oscar for the Best Original Song.

As the American singer Janelle Monáe and Oscar nominee Kate Hudson walked up the stage to announce the winner for the Best Original song at the 95th Academy Awards, the entire team of RRR clenched their fists, held on to their seats at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and hoped for the best. And then the presenters announced— RRR(x3) for Naatu Naatu. The winners, M.M. Keeravaani and Chandrabose smiled at each other, shook each other’s hands, and walked down the aisle smiling at the who’s who of Hollywood and world cinema. Another top contender, Lady Gaga for Hold my Hand from Top Gun: Maverick sprang up from her seat with joy and clapped for the composer-lyricist duo.  What a site for the entire nation to wake up to!

Applause from Tell it like a Woman(Diane Warren), Hold my Hand from Top Gun: Maverick(Lady Gaga and Bloodpop), Lift Me Up from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever(Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Goransson), and This is a Life from Everything Everywhere all at once(Ryann Lott, David Byrne, and Mitski) were among the top contenders for the Best Original score. RRR’s Naatu Naatu beat the best global pop megastars in the world(Rihanna and Lady Gaga) to stay on top this awards season.

Fifteen years after A.R. Rahman won the Oscar for both song and score for Slumdog Millionaire, which was a British production from filmmaker Danny Boyle, RRR becomes the first all Indian production to achieve this prestigious feat. Naatu Naatu also bagged the Golden Globe Award for the Best Original Song in January. This honour sort of made it clear that Naatu Naatu would be the frontrunner at the Oscars as well and the predictions of film pundits turned out accurate.

Moments before the big announcement, Deepika Padukone graced the stage in  her gorgeous all-black outfit and invited a talented troupe of Hollywood dancers to perform Naatu Naatu on the global platform. Singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kala Bhairava accompanied the dancers on the stage and lip synced their way through the specially composed shorter version of Naatu Naatu. The performance received a standing ovation at the Dolby Theatre. The dancers impressively replicated the sequence where Ram and Bheem go up against each other in the film and dance to the very end until all the exhausted British bullies land on the ground.

With Naatu Naatu notching up India’s first entertainment win at the Oscars, good wishes are pouring in. NTR Jr who is also attending the Awards event at Los Angeles reacted happily to the RRR feat at the Oscars.

“I cannot find the words to express my elation right now. This is not just a win for RRR but for India as a country. I believe this is just the beginning. Showing us how far Indian cinema can go. Congratulations to Keeravaani garu and Chandrabose garu. Of course none of this would have been possible without a master storyteller called Rajamouli and the audiences who showered us with all the love.”

Being a proud to partner for the music on the film, Bhushan Kumar, chairman and managing director of T-Series congratulated the team by saying, “Naatu Naatu has made everyone dance to its electrifying beats and this is glorious win at Oscars is a testament for the adulation the song has received! It’s an absolute honour to be associated with the music of RRR which has indeed stirred revolution in Indian music space, creating a remarkable history that the entire nation is proud of! We would like to extend wishes and looking forward to collaborate with composer M.M Keeravani, lyricists Chandrabose and singers Kala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj, amazing cast Ram Charan and Jr NTR along with producer D.V.V Danayya and the visionary director SS Rajamouli and S.S. Karthikeya.”

In one of his recent interviews, Jr. NTR said that the steps were not difficult but the synchronisation was the toughest part. He even remarked, “I wondered why Rajamouli was so particular about the sync, but after the film released, people were only talking about the sync!” On multiple occasions, the RRR actor quipped, “My legs still hurt from the song!”

On the other hand, in one of his recent interviews, Ram Charan revealed that while rehearsing for the iconic song and with umpteen retakes, he lost over 4 kilos.
“We rehearsed in Ukraine in front of the President’s palace for seven days. The President himself was an actor and therefore he agreed to our request. One hundred and fifty dancers were present on set. And an amazing crew of 200 was present too. And the whole song shoot took 17 days to be completed. It took umpteen retakes and I lost 4 kilos. My legs still wobble when I think about it.”

Oh wait! Another person who deserves a special appreciation is the Naatu Naatu choreographer Prem Rakshith. Rajamouli had in fact  revealed in an interview that choreographer Prem Rakshith came up with over not 10 or 20 but “100 variations” of the hook step for the song. “For the song, Rajamouli sir said Jr NTR is like a tiger and Charan sir is like a cheetah so capture that essence in the song and at the same time make sure that they both dance together as that is the most important part of the story,” the choreographer shared in an interview.

Way before the makers set out on an international campaign to promote the film, the song was a massive sensation in India. The film piqued the interest of the western neighbours and videos of audience dancing at the sophisticated theatres in the west started going viral. This friendly challenge kicks off the Naatu Naatu number in the Indian blockbuster RRR. The marathon dance-off that follows has delighted hundreds of millions of YouTube viewers and millions of moviegoers.

Let’s not forget the attire that the Ram and Bheem’s duo put on at the event. Jr NTR and Ram Charan, the lead actors of the film, walked the red carpet (technically, it was champagne coloured this time) in black traditional attire representing India and howRam Charan and Upasana at Oscar 2023 celebrated Indian artisans by wearing designer, custom-made attire.The couple’s clothing choices were a tribute to the skilled craftsmen who create intricate designs. The couple celebrated homegrown artisans with elegance.

Meanwhile, Jr NTR decoding his attire said, “I’m wearing Gaurav Gupta. He’s one of our amazing designers, a very good friend of mine. So he felt, when we discussed… it’s not going to be us walking on the carpet. It’s India. So that’s why I’m in my Indian attire, tiger being the national animal of India.”

As soon as the announcement was made, several celebrities poured in their warm wishes and congratulated the entire team for the win.

#NaatuNaatu  On top of the world!! And the Oscar  for the Best Original Song Goes To : Take a Bow ..  @mmkeeravaani garu & @boselyricist @kaalabhairava7 @Rahulsipligunj  #PremRakshith @tarak9999 @AlwaysRamCharan And the One & Only  @ssrajamouli #Oscars95 -Chiranjeevi Konidela

Celebrating talent today a little more… It’s Oscar time for India!! Extremely happy and proud! And there you go… NAATU NAATU!! Crossing all boundaries!! Congratulations to @mmkeeravaani garu, @boselyricist and the entire team of #RRR on their phenomenal win at the Oscars!! A jubilant moment for Indian cinema -Mahesh Babu

Beautiful #RRRMovie #NaatuNaatu Another big step for India, Indian cinema! #Oscars. You made us all proud and made us dream bigger. Jai Hind! -Vijay Deverakonda

#oscar for #NaatuNaatu Historic moment for Indian cinema!! you make us proud!!Congratulations to @MMKeeravaani @SSRajamouli @BoseLyricist @Tarak9999 @AlwaysRamCharan @KaalaBhairava7 @RahulSipligunj #PremRakshith @DVVMovies @RRRMovie and team!! -Nagarjuna Akkineni

Example for – Dream big!!! Team #RRR Congratulations !! -Rashmika Mandanna

What a proud day for Indians today. To watch the world celebrate an Indian song. Song and dance being something that is so ingrained in our culture. Congratulations Team RRR. Time to Party.. wooohhoooo #AcademyAwards -Pooja Hegde

What an incredible moment! It’s an Oscar baby! -Samantha Ruth Prabhu

RRR placed us on the map we always believed in, A true example that hard work speaks above all -Seerat Kapoor

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