Tuesday, February 27, 2024

‘Naatu Naatu’ of ‘RRR’ among four Oscar entries from India

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PNS|New Delhi

India has four entries, including one for “Chhello Show” for best international film and “Naatu Naatu” from the blockbuster “RRR” in the music (original song) categories, in the Oscars shortlist announced on Thursday.

Besides the Gujarati film and the popular Telugu song, “All That Breathes” has made it to the documentary feature shortlist and “The Elephant Whisperers” in the documentary short category, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced.

This is perhaps the first time India has made it to four Oscar shortlists, the stage before nominations.

The shortlists were announced in 10 categories: documentary feature film, documentary short film, international feature film, makeup and hairstyling, music (original score), music (original song), animated short film, live action short film, sound, and visual effects.

Each shortlist has between 10 to 15 contenders. The final nominations for the 95th Academy Awards will be announced on January 24 and final awards ceremony will take place on March 12 in Los Angeles.

Directed by Pan Nalin and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Dheer Momaya, “Chhello Show” (titled “Last Film Show” in English) is India’s official entry to the Oscars. It is a coming-of-age story of a young boy’s love affair with cinema in a Saurashtra village.

“We would like to thank the FFI, the millions of people who watched and admired ‘Chhello Show’, as well as our international distributors who gave the film a well-deserved push. This is a historic moment for India and we hope to bring the Oscar home very soon,” Kapur, Momaya and Nalin said in a joint statement.

Only three Indian films in Oscar history have found mention in top five of the international film (formerly called foreign language) category: “Lagaan” (2001), “Salaam Bombay!” (1988), and “Mother India” (1957).
According to the Academy’s official website, “Chhello Show” will compete with 14 films, including “Argentina, 1985” (Argentina), “Decision to Leave” (South Korea), “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany), and “Close” (Belgium).

As part of the music (original song) Oscars shortlist, “Naatu Naatu” will face off with 14 tracks. These include “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from “Avatar: The Way of Water”, “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, and “Carolina” from “Where the Crawdads Sing”.

“Here we go #NaatuNaatu becomes the first Indian song to be shortlisted for the Academy Awards! THANK YOU everyone for supporting us throughout our journey,” the makers said in a statement shared on the official Twitter page of “RRR”.

“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.

This is the third major international recognition for “Naatu Naatu”, composed by MM Keeravaani and penned by Kala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj. It has also been nominated for a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award.

SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus “RRR”, starring Jr NTR and Ram Charan, has got another Golden Globe nomination — for best non-English language film. Besides, it has four more Critics Choice Award nominations — best picture, best foreign language film, best director and best visual effects.Ram Charan said he is honoured to be part of the song.

“What a historic moment for the entire Indian Film Industry Couldn’t be more honoured to note that #NaatuNaatu becomes the first Indian song to be shortlisted for the Academy Awards! @ssrajamouli garu and @mmkeeravaani garu, it’s all your vision and magic.. #RRRForOscars,” he posted on Twitter.

Choreographer Prem Rakshith, who has worked on the song, said he is glad that people across the globe loved the dance number.

“Today, I am feeling happy but when we were doing the song we were nervous… We are glad everyone has loved the song and it has turned out to be iconic,” Rakshith told PTI.
Director Shaunak Sen whose “All That Breathes”, an internationally co-produced Hindi title, is vying for a spot in the top five of the best documentary feature category said he is overjoyed.

“Not least because this shines more light on the singularly remarkable work our characters do, but also owing to the lovely films we are in the company of. We’re genuinely thrilled with the recognition, and looking forward to the next steps in the film’s journey,” Sen told PTI.

Delhi-set “All That Breathes” follows two siblings, Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad, who have devoted their lives to rescuing and treating injured birds, especially black kites.

It previously won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a film gala that promotes independent cinema and filmmakers, and earned Sen the Golden Eye award for the best documentary at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

Other shortlisted nominees in the documentary feature category include “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”, “Bad Axe”, “Children of the Mist”, and “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song”.

Last year, Indian feature documentary “Writing With Fire” was part of the final nominations list in the best documentary feature Oscar section but lost out to “Summer of Soul (Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”. It was the first Indian feature documentary to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Kartiki Gonsalves’ “The Elephant Whisperers” is a Tamil documentary short that depicts an unbreakable bond between two abandoned elephants and their caretakers. It is produced by Guneet Monga and Achin Jain of Sikhya Entertainment.

In an Instagram post, Monga said she is thrilled for the entire team.

“It’s an honour to have made it to the top 15 shortlisted documentary films and we absolutely couldn’t have done it without the support of @raghavkhanna24 @alokethebloke from team @Netflix,” said the producer, who won an Oscar for the American documentary short “Period. End of Sentence” in 2019.

To make it to the final five of the documentary short category, “The Elephant Whisperers” will have to fight it out with “The Flagmakers”, “Nuisance Bear”, “Shut Up and Paint”, “Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison”, “Anastasia”, and nine other documentary shorts in the section.

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