At the Golden Globes on Tuesday night, the Indian hit that became a worldwide phenomenon known as “RRR” went one for two, winning best original song for the viral hit “Naatu Naatu,” but falling short of winning best non-English-language picture for “Argentina, 1985.”
The song was an underdog when it entered the competition, which also included Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Guillermo del Toro, a director and songwriter. However, the crowd-pleasing action-drama-musical “RRR” has garnered serious awards attention in recent weeks. Composer-songwriter M.M. Keeravani picked up the Golden Globe and thanked his lyricists, arranger, family, and director-writer S.S. Rajamouli for their contributions. The song’s Globes win raises hopes that “Naatu” will become the first Indian song to be nominated for an Oscar later this month; It was already shortlisted for 15 songs by the Academy.
Keeravani said on stage, “Thank you very much HFPA for this prestigious award.” “My wife, who is sitting right there, makes me very happy to share this excitement with her”.
Rihanna’s Black Panther was defeated by “Naatu Naatu”: The song “Lift Me Up” from Wakanda Forever and Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, “Carolina” by Taylor Swift from “Where the Crawdads Sing,” and “Ciao Papa” by Guillermo del Toro, Alexandre Desplat, and Roeban Katz from “Pinocchio” by del Toro.
At a raucous screening sponsored by the American Cinematheque and Beyond Fest the night before the Globes, Rajamouli, Keeravani, and the film’s two lead actors, Ram Charan and N.T. Rama Rao Jr., gathered for the first time in the United States. The screening had sold out in just over 90 seconds, and the audience whooped and screamed throughout the more than three-hour film. Several hundred people took to the floor in front of the Chinese IMAX screen for a “Naatu Naatu” dance-athon before finally settling down for a nearly one-hour Q&A with the four guests. The surprise guest who introduced the Chinese screening was filmmaker J.J. Abrams.
Abrams described “RRR” as “a film I love and a filmmaker I so admire” in his Chinese introduction. Its exuberance excites me. I adore its companionship. I adore its interior. I adore the message about standing up for what is right. The music is my jam. I adore the absurdity. This movie’s fever-dream madness is more fun than you’ll have in a theater, and more fun than any other movie I can think of”.
TikTok is partly to blame for the worldwide popularity of the song and the homemade clips set to “Naatu Naatu” that led to the movie’s early success in the U.S. domestic box office. TikTok users had spotted a brief clip of lead actors Ram Charan and N. T. Rama Rao Jr. performing the peculiar dance step that is featured in the choreography and attempted to imitate it in their own ways long before the movie opened in theaters.
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