Naatu Naatu From RRR Wins the Oscar for Best Original Song; The Elephant Whisperers’ Wins Best Documentary Short Film

India has a shining moment at the Oscars, with Naatu- Naatu from RRR and Elephant Whisperers winning Oscars for the first time for an Indian production.

Highlights
  • Naatu Naatu and Elephant Whisperers win Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards
  • In the history of the Oscars, it is for the first time that Indian cinema is recognised
  • Elephant Whisperers is the first Indian production to win an Oscar
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The 95th Academy Awards, hosted for the third time by Jimmy Kimmel in Los Angeles, are featuring a major moment for India. This year’s Oscar nominations were strong, including Naatu Naatu from RRR for Best Original Song, All That Breathes for Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short, and The Elephant Whisperers for Best Documentary Short. Deepika Padukone is also present at the ceremony. After Priyanka Chopra and Persis Khambatta as Oscar presenters, Deepika is the third Indian to do so. Team RRR, which consists of the filmmaker SS Rajamouli, actors Ram Charan, and Jr. NTR, were present at the ceremony where Naatu Naatu was live-performed by Rahul Sipligunj, Kaala Bhairava, and Lauren Gottlieb.

The song which meant “raw-unpolished” was perceived as dance-dance and asked people do you understand naatu? When the foot-tapping “Naatu Naatu” from the Indian smash “RRR” won the Oscar for an original song on Sunday night, creating history in the process, the Academy awards demonstrated that it does.

The infectious Telugu-language dance number from director S.S. Rajamouli’s crossover action smash features music by composer M.M. Keeravani and lyrics by Chandrabose. It is the first song from an Indian film to be nominated and win in its category.


“Thank you, Academy. I grew up listening to the Carpenters, and now here I am with the Oscars,” Keeravani said in his acceptance speech, before breaking into song: “There was only one wish on my mind…RRR has to win, pride of every Indian, and must put me on the top of the world.”

The original song Oscar was previously won by “Jai Ho” by Indian composer A.R. Rahman for Danny Boyle’s UK production “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009. However during the course of the category’s nearly 90-year history, the vast majority of winners have been English-language music from Hollywood movies.

The story of “Naatu Naatu,” which was filmed over two weeks at Ukraine’s presidential palace months before the Russian invasion, revolves around the fast-paced dance-off between freedom-fighting best friends Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR) and Alluri Sitarama Raju (Charan) and their intimidating British adversaries.

“Naatu Naatu,” a song by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, won the award over songs from four English-language movies: “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” performed by pop star Rihanna; “This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” sung by Mitski; “Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” written by Diane Warren and performed by  Sofia Carson; and Lady Gaga’s ” Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick.

The Elephant Whisperers Becomes First Indian Production to Win

The 95th Academy Awards have awarded The Elephant Whisperers, which was produced by Guneet Monga and directed by Kartiki Gonsalves, Best Documentary Short Film award. It is interesting to note here that The Elephant Whisperers is the first Indian production to win an Oscar, and also it is helmed by 2 women. Haulout, The Martha Mitchell Effect, Stranger At The Gate, and How Do You Measure A Year were the other four nominees in this category. The Elephant Whisperers was the third Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar in this category, apart from The House That Ananda Built and An Encounter With Faces, which competed for Best Documentary Short in 1969 and 1979, respectively.

The story of Raghu, an orphaned elephant calf in the care of Bomman and Belli, a local couple, is told in the Elephant Whisperers, which is situated in the Mudumalai National Park. The documentary highlights both the surrounding natural beauty and the relationship that grows between them. In December 2022, The Elephant Whisperers became available on Netflix.