Indians are rejoicing after a breakout hit song from the action film RRR and a short documentary, The Elephant Whisperers, won at the Oscars.
“Naatu Naatu” won the award for best original song, becoming the first South Asian country’s home-made film to do so.
The song, a fast-paced number that sparked a TikTok challenge and has millions of views on YouTube, received a standing ovation when it was performed at the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
“There are no words to express this bizarre event. This is dedicated to all of our incredible fans around the world. THANK YOU!!” said RRR’s Twitter account.
Minutes after the prize was revealed, television photos showed people dancing in the streets to the song, and Naatu Naatu became a top trend on Twitter. Earlier this year, the song was also nominated for a Golden Globe.
“‘Naatu Naatu’ has a global following. “It will be a song remembered for years to come,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter, applauding the song’s creators.
“The entire country is proud. “They have introduced India to the world stage,” Prudhvi Chandra, one of the “Naatu Naatu” vocalists, told India Today.
“Naatu Naatu,” directed by SS Rajamouli and shot in the south Indian language of Telugu, begins with the two stars, Ram Charan and NT Rama Rao Jr, flaunting their dance skills after being humiliated for being the only Indian people invited to a British celebration during colonial times.
When a young British man shoots racial slurs at the leads, they resolve to teach him using the song “Naatu Naatu”.
Everyone at the party, including the scoffing British man, tries to perfect the moves during the scene, which was shot at Ukraine’s stately Mariinskyi Palace.
At the Oscars, composer MM Keeravani, along with songwriter Chandra Bose, burst into song while winning the trophy on stage.
“I feel that this is only the beginning of everything so that the world – particularly the Western World – focuses more on Indian and Asian music, which has been long overdue,” Keeravani said backstage after collecting the prize.
Kartiki Gonsalves, who won for The Elephant Whisperers, is the first Indian director to win in this category, and the first Indian to win in any category.
The Elephant Whisperers is a film about an indigenous couple in southern India who adopt and care for an orphaned baby elephant.
Gonsalves dedicated the award to “my motherland India” and praised the documentary’s subjects for sharing their indigenous knowledge. “I stand here today to speak for the sacred relationship that exists between us and our natural environment,” she explained.
“We just won the first-ever Oscar for an Indian production!” tweeted producer Guneet Monga. “This was done by two women!” “I’m still shaking.”
Modi congratulated the two filmmakers on their achievement in another tweet. “Their work brilliantly demonstrates the significance of sustainable development and living in harmony with nature,” he added.
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