‘There’s a formula to winning the Oscars’

Film critic Ashameera Aiyappan

Predictably, Naatu Naatu from SS Rajamouli’s RRR won the Oscar for Best Original Song. Written by Chandrabose, composed by MM Keeravani, and sung by Rahul Sipiligunj and Kaala Bhairava, the popular number is just the second song from India to win the category. (The first was Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire, in 2009.)

The song tells the story of two revolutionaries who band together to fight a tyrannical British governor.

Choreographer Prem Rakshit (who has been working with Rajamouli since Chatrapathi in 2005), in an interview, recalled how he had two superstars — Jr NTR and Ram Charan —  and that was “pressurising”. As their styles are distinct, Rakshit had to match both of their steps.

The Charlie Chaplin silent films and the Tom & Jerry cartoons served as some of Rakshith’s sources of inspiration. For the hook step, at least 110 different moves were tried and tested. The planning process took over two months. During practice, Rakshith’s assistants tore ligaments. The rest, as they say, is history.


Film critic Ashameera Aiyappan talks to The Federal about how the South Indian action saga’s Naatu Naatu made Oscar history. She also discusses why there is such a big gap between people who love the movie and those who don’t.