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Telugu film industry is on cloud nine after ace director S S Rajamouli’s blockbuster film “RRR” struck gold at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards by winning in the category of best original song motion picture for its hit track “Naatu Naatu”.
The movie was also nominated for the Best Picture (non-English) category at the ceremony. It is the first Telugu film to be nominated for the awards, according to Tollywood sources.
The song – “Naatu Naatu” was composed by veteran music director MM Keeravaani, who has also given music for several hit films including Rajamouli’s magnum opus “Baahubali.”
The song was rendered by Keeravani’s son Kala Bhairava and another Hyderabadi folk singer Rahul Sipligunj.
After receiving the award, Keeravani thanked his cousin Rajamouli for his “vision”. He said it had been an age-old practice to say that this award actually belonged to someone else. “So I was planning to not say those words when I get an award like this, but I’m sorry to say that I’m going to repeat the tradition because I mean my words,” he said.
He dedicated the award to Rajamouli. “I thank him for the constant trust in my work and support,” Keeravani said.
The veteran music composer also thanked the team behind the track — choreographer Prem Rakshith, lyricist Chandrabose and singers Sipligunj and Bhairava. “And NT Rama Rao Jr and Ram Charan for dancing with full stamina for the song,” he said.
Sipligunj, who rendered the song along with Kalabhairava, said it was an honour for a street singer like him to hear his name on an international forum. Lyricist Chandrabose, who penned the song, said he would treat this award as “boon from the god”. He thanked the team RRR for giving him an opportunity to write the song.
Released in March 2022, “RRR” is a fictional story of pre-Independence era, woven around two characters which resemble two revolutionaries of Telugu land: Kumaram Bheem of Adilabad of Telangana and Alluri Sitarama Raju of Visakhapatnam area of Andhra Pradesh.
The film turned out to be a mega hit, grossing around ₹1,200 crore at the box office, according to the Telugu film industry people in the know of the development.
Congratulations pour in
As soon as the awards were announced, congratulations started pouring in from all quarters to the team Rajamouli, especially Keeravani, for the win.
Tollywood megastar Chiranjeevi, whose son Ram Charan played a key role in the film and also featured in the dance sequence in the song, was the first to tweet, expressing his best wishes to the team. “What a phenomenal, historic achievement!!! Golden Globes Best Original Song – Motion Picture Award to @mmkeeravani garu!! Take a Bow! Heartiest Congratulations Team @RRRMovie & @ssrajamouli !! India is proud of you! #NaatuNaatu,” he tweeted.
He went on to say: “#NaatuNaatu is all about the celebration of Music & Dance. India & the World is dancing with you today!! Kudos @tarak9999 @AlwaysRamCharan @boselyricist for the fabulous lyrics! @kalabhairava7 @Rahulsipligunj Danayya garu @DVVMovies.”
Oscar-award winning music director A R Rahman also extended congratulations to the Team RRR. “Incredible… Paradigm shift Congrats Keeravani Garu from all Indians and your fans! Congrats @ssrajamouli Garu and the whole RRR team.”
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy also congratulated RRR team members, including Keeravani and Rajamouli for making all the Telugus proud and keep the Telugu flag fluttering on the international platform.
Former Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu, Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president A Revanth Reddy were among other politicians who congratulated the team.
The meaning behind ‘Naatu’
Telugu word “Naatu” literally translates to “rugged” or “rough,” or “countryside,” an antonym to “polished” or “sophisticated” or “urbanised.”
The song shows how the two characters — played by Jr NTR and Ram Charan, who are from countryside — dance to a folk number in their typical countryside style to counter a British officer who mocks them as “country brutes” and “uncivilised.”
Narrating the story behind picturising this song, director Rajamouli, in an interview to a Telugu television channel said at the time of the release of “RRR,” that he wanted to shoot a mass entertaining song on the two heroes, while projecting their cultural background in rural India, in sharp contrast to the British culture.
“We wanted it to be different from the other songs in the film. It was actually shot in Ukraine’s capital Kiev in 2021 before the eruption of war with Russia. The song was picturised on the premises of Mariinsky Palace, the official residence of Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky, adjacent to Parliament building,” Rajamouli said, adding that the authorities had given permission to the team to shoot the song, as Zelensky was also an actor.
Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.
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