RRR's Naatu Naatu song gets Oscars nominations in 'Best Original Song' category

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sashidhar Adivi

Entertainment, Tollywood

Elephant Whisperers, All That Breathes on documentary lists

After a great winning streak at Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, the film has officially entered the race for the Academy Awards. (Photo: ANI)

The ‘Naatu Naatu’ song from S.S. Rajamouli’s 'RRR' after basking in the glory of the Golden Globe award, has now entered the Oscars race. The song that rocked the world, composed by M.M. Keeravani and performed by Ram Charan and Jr. NTR on screen, was nominated for best original song at the 95th Academy Awards.

The nomination is historic because it is the first Indian song to be nominated for an Oscar. The Keeravani track won the Golden Globe for best song on January 10, which was a resounding achievement for Telugu cinema's homegrown marvel.  

The Indian documentary ‘All That Breathes’ and the short documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ were also in the race for the Oscars, while ‘Chhello Show,’ India's official entry in the international feature category, failed to make the cut.

The other nominees in the best original song category are ‘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.

Shortly after the news broke, Jr. NTR remarked that the song would always hold a special place in his heart. RRR’s official social media handles announced that they were proud of creating history.

Reacting to the news, Ram Charan wrote in his Twitter handle, "What brilliant news! Truly an honour to see “Naatu Naatu” nominated for the Oscars. Another very proud moment for us & India. Well deserved.”  Director Rajamouli and Keeravani were flooded with congratulatory messages from thousands of fans.

Keeravani said on Twitter: “Congratulations to my team !! Big hugs to all.” Rajamouli's father and the film's screenwriter V. Vijayendra Prasad said that it was a proud moment for India, the team of RRR, the Telugu movie industry and for Indian cinema.

Choreographer Prem Rakshith, whose masterly ideas fired up the Jr NTR-Ram Charan dance-off, expressed his unbridled joy to Deccan Chronicle.

"It's a great moment. I had just wrapped up my day's work for Pushpa-2 when cinematographer Rathnavelu broke the thrilling piece of news to me about the Oscar nomination," he said.

The choreographer was through some personal hardship at the time the song was being filmed in Ukraine. "My wife was diagnosed with Covid-19 two days after my arrival in the Ukraine. I was anxious about her health. I would repeatedly contact her to check on her during the hectic song schedule to see how she was doing.

The song's march to glory, the choreographer explained, "lets him forget all the pain that he went through." He praised Rajamouli's vision, Keeravani's upbeat music, Jr NTR and Ram Charan’s stellar performances for creating a visual feast.

Incidentally, Charan had suffered a second-degree ligament tear months before the shoot of the song and was just recovering from it.  

Chandrabose, the song's lyricist, worked on the song with a “vengeance” because he was determined to make up for his terrible disappointment at not being able to contribute to Rajamouli's Baahubali films.

"After my initial meeting with Keeravani garu, I had the song's opening verses pop into my head as I was driving. The protagonists, Komaram Bheem and Alluri, have native cultural backgrounds that are reflected in the lyrics,” he said. Over the course of more than 19 months, difficult literary and socio-cultural consideration went into crafting the lines in authentic language, he said.