Naatu Naatu, India’s favorite Oscar-winning song • Studio magazine

Things that happen | Cinema

9 March 2023

RRR was one of the most loved and surprising films of 2023 (we talked about it here): that of SS Rajamouli will probably be remembered in the coming years as the film that definitively “cleared” Indian cinema and made known – and, hopefully, understood – the largest film industry in the world to Western audiences. Demonstration of the success of RRR in addition to the many awards won during 2022 and at the beginning of 2023 (among all: at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards Rajamouli won the one for best director), the Oscar nomination obtained by “Naatu Naatu”, piece principal of the beautiful soundtrack of the film.

“Naatu Naatu” has already made the history of Indian cinema, actually: during the last Golden Globes it became the first Indian piece to win the award for Best Original Song, beating Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. And before even receiving nominations for the most important American film awards, the song had already gone viral on social networks – especially on TikTok, where the choreographer of the film, Prem Rakshith, has spent a lot of time helping creators from all over the world to learn some of the moves seen in the scene that has become famous as the “Naatu Naatu sequence”, providing real dance tutorials – where RRR it became a cult long before arriving in Western cinemas. Naatu is a word that is difficult to translate into Italian but, more or less, indicates everything that can be considered “local”, rustic and homemade, and opposite to what is imported from abroad and is considered, often wrongly, more refined and relevant: that is why, in the scene where the protagonists of the film Raju and Bheem dance to the rhythm of “Naatu Naatu”, the song is their answer to a snooty English nobleman who wonders if the Indians will ever be able to produce something comparable to waltz, salsa, flamenco. A melody and lyrics that marry perfectly with the anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist story told by the film.

RRR it is an exaggerated film in every part and the dance off scene between Raju and Bheem is obviously not to be outdone. In the absurd production history of the film – it took Rajamouli almost four years to shoot, only the first scene of the film (which lasts more than three hours in all) required months of work between staging and shooting – the scene of “ Naatu Naatu” occupies a prominent place: it was shot in 2021 and, for some reason, the director insisted until the producers indulged his desire to shoot it in Kiev, in front of the presidential palace of the Ukrainian capital, the residence by Volodymyr Zelensky.

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