Neither Rihanna nor Lady Gaga. The Oscar for Best Song went to a Telugu-language composition from a Tollywood film (not to be confused with Bollywood) played in a scene shot in… Ukraine. ‘Naatu Naatu’, the star piece of the historical epic “RRR” (Netflix), made good predictions and thus became the first song from an Indian production to win the Golden Man statue. In the triumph, in which Tik Tok had the pestilential power, there is much to do.
Directed by SS Rajamouli, ‘RRR’ is a blockbuster of the frenetic period, the vibrant Bengali film industry (in the area of Tollygunge, hence the name Tollywood) that in its three hours of footage mixes madness, romance, soap operas, drama and history. fictitious and of course musical numbers. The highlight is what happens when the two leads, NT Rama Rao Jr and Ram Charan, respond with a show of song and dance to the insults of the British fop. The song they perform “Naatu Naatu” is a Telugu word (‘naatu’ which can be translated as “native”) and the scene was shot in front of the Mariyinsky Palace in Kiev shortly before the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russians.
Immediacy and exoticism
Written by MM Keeravani and lyricist Chandrabose, the song is a typical film musical number, with folky/electronic instrumentation, traditional 6/8 beat and super addictive dance. A winning mix of pop immediacy and fascinating exoticism. But the element that raised “Naatu Naatu” to a higher level of popularity around the world is its captivating choreography, based on some very energetic movements (if I repeat them too often I get exhausted; “I still haven’t recovered my knees & rdquor. ;, recently the actor Ram Charan) but not particularly complicated Performance Ideal for Tik Tok.
And of course, Tik Tok welcomed her with open arms. When the film began to gain visibility in the United States, thanks to laudatory comments from celebrities such as director James Gunn and actor Patton Oswalt, the social network of looping micro-videos was filled with young people replicating the dance “RRR” and in particular, the choreography of Naatu Naatu. From there, the trend moved to North American movie theaters, where audiences danced to musical numbers in sicles, a common image in Indian films, but very rare among Western audiences.
Surprisingly, ‘RRR’ was not chosen to represent India at the Oscars in the category of best non-English language (the nominee, ‘The Last Movie’, by Pan Nalin, was left out of the final quintet), so it had its only claim to the best song. On stage at the Dolby Theatre, Naatu Naatu front-runners Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava defended the song, which had won the Golden Globe Award in January, with the song ending. Academy in the same face as Rihanna, Lady Gaga and the unfortunate Diane Warren (14 nominations in this category and not one victory).