The 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles honoured M. M. Keeravani’s “Naatu Naatu” from S. S. Rajamouli’s RRR as the Best Original Song, recognising the affection of Indians for music in film. RRR’s “Naatu Naatu” has not only got admirers moving from TikTok to the Oscars, but it has also earned a rare glory for a crucial component of Indian movies: the songs. The M. M. Keeravani masterpiece, sung by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, and written by Chandrabose, received an Oscar nomination. This honour extends a warm welcome to the musical legacy of Indian cinema and provides better opportunities for future Indian films in other categories at the prestigious annual ceremony.
Songs and Indian movies have a long-standing relationship that dates back to the 1930s, when the country’s first sound movie was released. Seven songs were featured in Ardeshir Irani’s Alam Ara, widely regarded as the first sound picture in India. Although there are no longer any recordings of Alam Ara, the musical genre has integrated itself so deeply into Indian cinematic storytelling that it may be difficult to conceive Indian movies without their songs. Even if a person has never seen an Indian movie before, they could find themselves bopping to Bollywood music. Bollywood music is restricted to songs from the Hindi film business, although audiences that watch movies in many languages and speak different languages have a love for songs and music in movies. The triumph of “Naatu Naatu” as a global phenomenon, however, is the best example of music’s extraordinary capacity to overcome language borders.
Songs are frequently used as essential storytelling devices to advance the plot in Indian movies. While in others, they might just be included to give the audience a cause to dance and enjoy themselves. Although the musical is a genre that is popular outside of India, from a Western perspective, nearly every Indian film could just as easily be classified as a musical due to the importance of songs in Indian cinema culture. Since receiving a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his song “Jai Ho” from Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire more than ten years ago, musical genius A.R. Given that, unlike Danny Boyle’s film, “Naatu Naatu” won the Oscar for Best Original Song, it is a more significant occasion for the Indian film industry.
The Academy’s willingness to recognise “Naatu Naatu’s” worth is significant, even though it is unfortunate that RRR was passed over for other awards. Hopefully, this decision will encourage the Academy to support more Indian works in the future. Before “Naatu Naatuhistoric “‘s victory, every time an Oscar made its way to India, it was for an Indian’s work in a non-Indian production, beginning with Bhanu Athaiya’s excellent costume design in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi and ending with A. R. Rahman’s composition in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. The two victories for these Indian productions serve as evidence that the Indian film industry does not necessarily require Western support to compete at the top level of international filmmaking. Indian films are more than capable of succeeding if given a fair chance to do so. The sole criteria is that the artistic product must be able to evoke strong feelings and maintain public interest, just like RRR did at its initial release in March 2022.
The triumph of “Naatu Naatu” at the Oscars has helped break down an imperceptible barrier, making the aspiration of winning an Oscar attainable for Indian filmmakers in the years to come. The victory has increased the likelihood that Indian filmmakers would win an Oscar trophy. The 95th Academy Awards victory will increase the chance for more films from the industry to be taken into consideration in the future, bringing more attention to one of the largest film-producing industries in the world that has been denied its fair share of appreciation for a long time. The Indian film industry has thrived even without an Oscar win for years. If anything, it will at least change the critical perception of Indian cinema among critics and fans. Commercial success is unquestionably required in the future to guarantee that Indian films have a fair opportunity at the Oscars, as it was with RRR. The success of RRR may not be too difficult to recreate in the future, or in the worst scenario, may continue to be such a rare for an Indian film, thanks to “Naatu Naatu’s” Oscar nomination.
In India’s film community, the Best Original Song victory will be welcomed because it ushers in a new age in which Indian movies can pursue international acclaim by winning an Oscar. The fact that RRR won the Best Song Oscar for “Naatu Naatu” feels poetic justice for a nation that has ingrained songs into their approach to filmmaking. When winning the Oscar, M. M. Keeravani invoked the song “Top of the World” by The Carpenters, perfectly capturing the love of Indians and Indian cinema for music and demonstrating how songs have become an essential part of Indian cinema.
Without a question, RRR has provided a unique viewpoint on what movies may accomplish and how making movies doesn’t have to be limited to a specific concept or style. The victory will hopefully lead to a deeper investigation of what Indian cinema has to offer outside of its oversized characters, amazing action, and wholly immersive storytelling approach. The Oscar nomination for “Naatu Naatu” can prove to be the turning point in the trajectory of Indian films, which continue to be more ambitious in terms of what they can achieve and what they stand to offer. It is not just a perfect ode to the romantic history that Indian films continue to share with their songs.
- The Oscar victory for “Naatu Naatu” by ‘RRR is significant for Indian cinema
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