Indian hit-turned-global phenomenon “RRR” took home a two-for-one at the Golden Globes on Tuesday night, missing out on best non-English-language film to “Argentina, 1985” but winning best original song with viral sensation “Natu Natu”. Won for ” The song entered the race as an underdog, with music superstars Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga competing in the category, as well as director-songwriter Guillermo del Toro. But awards interest in “RRR” has grown in recent weeks as the crowd-pleasing action-drama- The musical has transcended cult status to garner serious awards attention.
The Golden Globe was picked up by composer-lyricist MM Kiravani, who thanked his lyricist, organiser, family and director-writer SS Rajamouli. The song’s Globe win raises expectations that “Natu” will become the rare song by an Indian composer to receive an Oscar nomination later this month; It has already made the Academy’s 15-song shortlist.
The night before the Globes, Rajamouli, Kiravani and two of the film’s leading men, Ram Charan and NT Rama Rao Jr., called for the first time in America at a theatrical screening at a Chinese theater sponsored by the American Cinematheque and Beyond Fest. The screening sold out in just 90 seconds, and the audience whooped and screamed throughout the more than three-hour film, before dozens of Chinese took to the floor in front of the IMAX screen for a “Natu Natu” dance-athon. Finally settling down for a nearly hour-long Q&A session with four guests. Filmmaker JJ Abrams was a surprise guest to introduce the Chinese screening.
In his introduction in Chinese, Abrams called “RRR” “a film that I love and a filmmaker that I love very much.” … I like the exuberance of it. I love its friendship. I love her heart. I love what it says about fighting for what is right. I love music. I love madness. The fever-dream madness of this movie will be as much fun in your theater — (and) I can’t imagine in any other film.”
A diversity Story This week, both the filmmaker and composer talk about the making of “Natu Natu” and how it fits into the film.
“I never imagined there would be this kind of response to this song, not even in my wildest dreams,” Kiravani said. “But as a paradoxical statement, it’s a dream come true.”
The “RRR” filmmaking team has TikTok to thank, in part, not only for the song’s global popularity but also how the homemade clips set to “Natu Natu” have propelled the movie’s US domestic box-off success out of the gate. Ahead of the film’s theatrical opening, TikTok users watched a short clip of lead actors Ram Charan and NT Rama Rao Jr.
Rajamouli said, “When I conceived the song ‘Natu Natu’, “Although both of them (actors) are great dancers, I didn’t want the steps to be so complicated that people can’t do it. It should be like any two people – be it friends, mother and daughter, father and son, two brothers or two sisters – will look at it and think, ‘Let’s try this.’ And they did; Millions and millions of people were trying the steps and posting on it. When we released the song it became such a big event and it obviously increased public interest in the film.”
Kiravani says the beat has a lot to do with popularity — even though it’s so fast that, like a videography of a hummingbird’s wing, you almost have to slow down to recognize it. “The beat is 6/8 – it’s not heard very often from the West, but from India and sometimes from countries like Africa,” the composer said. “Specifically, it is even a South Indian type of beat, not so much North Indian. And in ‘Natu Natu’ this beat took another level and another level of BPM (Beats Per Minute) which is rarely heard in the West. So that’s what initially caught the attention of Western audiences.” He also hinted at his singers: “I chose Rahul Sipliganj and Kala Bhairav to do justice to this tune and they gave their best. That’s why the song is what it is now.”
“Natu Natu” was recently named one of 15 songs shortlisted for the Best Original Song Oscar. However, “RRR” has no chance of winning the Best Foreign Film Oscar, as India has not submitted it as the country’s official selection. This omission has increased the determination among the film’s supporters to see it vindicated by a nomination for Best Picture or Best Director on top of a strong shot at a Best Song nod.
At the Chinese Theater the night before the Globes, Kiravani received a thunderous response from the crowd and said, “It’s true that I composed the music for the movie ‘RRR’, but the best music I heard today is your laughter and applause… I repeat, I want to hear that song over and over and over again.”