March 13th proved to be a golden day for Indian cinema as it bagged two awards at the coveted 95th Academy Awards, one for Best Original Song (“Naatu Naatu” from RRR) and another for Best Documentary Short (The Elephant Whisperers).
While The Elephant Whisperers, directed by Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga, explores the relationship between a poor tribal couple in Tamil Nadu and an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu. In addition, “Naatu Naatu” is a song showcasing the two heroes of RRR, Ram Charan and N.T. Rama Rao Jr., flaunting their dance skills after being bullied as the only Indian people invited to a British party in colonial times.
India soon erupted into celebrations as netizens rushed to praise the two for their win. Televisions showed images of people dancing to the song in the streets minutes after the award was announced, even as #NaatuNaatu was a top trend on Twitter.
"The popularity of “Naatu Naatu” is global. It is a song that will be remembered for years to come," Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter, congratulating the team behind it.
Modi, on The Elephant Whisperers' win at the Oscars, tweeted the importance of sustainable development and living in harmony with nature as highlighted through the film.
“It is just the beginning of everything,” composer M.M. Keeravani said backstage at the ceremony. “For the world, particularly the western world, folks are more on Indian and Asian music. It is just long due. I feel very happy to open doors and the world to embrace my culture.”
Many tweets and messages of admiration and applause followed with eminent personalities, including Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and IAS officer Supriya Sahu, congratulating the films on their respective wins.Celebrations continue with Amul releasing a series of doodles congratulating “Naatu Naatu’s” win.
Moreover, “Naatu Naatu” has been viewed 125 million times on YouTube while simultaneously garnering millions of viewers on other social media platforms as users took to TikTok to do the “Naatu Naatu” dance challenge.
The win is even more historic for the country as the performance of “Naatu Naatu” is only the second time an Indian song has been performed at the Oscars. The first time was the song Jai Ho from the film Slumdog Millionaire in 2009.
The euphoria across social media and in public stems from the fact that India has traditionally not fared well at the Academy Awards, despite numerous nominations. No Indian film has ever won the Oscar for Best Film, Oscar, and Naatu Naatu is the first song from an Indian movie to win an Oscar.
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