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Based on Indian folk style, how ‘Naatu Naatu’ became the world’s anthem

More than 19 months were taken to produce 'Naatu Naatu', the 3 minute 36 second song which won the Oscar

The song “Naatu Naatu” from the Telugu film “RRR” which won the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards has attained a cult status world over is for a duration of 3 minutes 36 seconds but this mammoth hit took more than 19 months to produce! That’s not all, its composer M. M. Keeravani had 20 different songs for that particular shot and the final one was decided by vote!

The song which showcases India’s soft power as it sways the world has been written by Chandrabose who penned it based on his childhood memories. Interestingly, he wrote 90 per cent of the lyrics in just half a day but took more than 18 months to write the remaining part. What Keeravani liked about the song was its local and traditional folk beat that resonated with the rural and the real India and that is what caught the imagination of the young and old alike across the globe.

The film’s director S.S. Rajamouli visualised the entire song as a fight sequence showcasing the face-off between the Indians and British. The song in fact sets the stage for the climax of the film which is based on the fictional story of two Telugu freedom fighters, Alluri Seetharama Raju and Komaram Bheem.

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The composer M.M. Keeravani and lyricist Chandrabose

Commenting on the song Rajamouli said: “”I think the biggest achievement for me was incorporating how the song comes into the film, without breaking the narrative.”

For choreographer Prem Rakshith, Rajamouli kept it simple as he asked him to create steps that “would look great with two people doing it together, but not so complicated that no-one could do it”. Delivering it as per the suggestion, Rakshith choreographed 110 moves for the hook step.

The filming of the song was done in Ukraine in August 2021 and it was part of the final leg of shooting. It took place at the official residence of the President of Ukraine in Kyiv, the Mariinsky Palace.

This was just a few months before the Russia-Ukraine conflict erupted and it took 15 days to complete using 50 dancers and 400 extras.

That it was a superhit was evident in the first 24 hours of its release as the song crossed over 17 million views in Telugu, thus achieving the singular distinction of becoming the most-viewed Telugu song.

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Director S.S. Rajamouli with Ram Charan and Junior NTR

Released in Tamil as “Naattu Koothu”; in Hindi as “Naacho Naacho”; in Malayalam as “Karinthol” and in Tamil as “Naattu Koothu”, the song along with the Telugu version has garnered 35 million views.

The hard work and perseverance of the cast and crew has made “Naatu Naatu” the first song from an Indian film to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song and also the first Indian and Asian song to win the Best Original Song award at the 80th Golden Globe Awards.