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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

RRR makes the Globe look towards Telegu tinseldom

Imp Pre-script:  Those of us in our middle ages would vouch ! – in our younger days, talking about Cinema and knowing it well was considered bad ?!? .. .. Telegu tinseldom was looked down especially by Bollywood perceived as too gaudy dresses, songs and dances !! 

పొలం గట్టు దుమ్ములోన  !!   పోట్లగిత్త దూకినట్టు

పోలేరమ్మ జాతరలో పోతరాజు ఊగినట్టు

Heard this song, felt like dancing to its tunes !! 

Poleramma Jatharalo, Potharaju Ooginattu, 

Polamgattu Dhummulona, Potla Gittha Dhookinattu,  

Like the lead dancer dancing at a local goddess’s festival.. ..

Like an aggressive bull jumping in the dust of the fields

The 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards is back after  years of controversy and boycott.  In Feb 2021, one week before the 78th Golden Globes broadcast, the Los Angeles Times ran an exposé ..  January 11, 2023, will go down in history as the date when India was not only put on the global pedestal of world cinema but a date when a song that came out of nowhere beat Hollywood stalwarts like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Rihanna. The song that has got everyone tapping their feet is none other than RRR’s Naatu Naatu.  The 80th Golden Globe Awards were held in Los Angeles on January 11 (IST). Indian film RRR won Best Original Song for ‘Naatu Naatu’ at the ceremony. Music director MM Keeravani collected the trophy.  The Fabelmans won Best Motion Picture – Drama and The Banshees of Inisherin won Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy. Austin Butler (Elvis) and Cate Blanchett (Tar) won Best Actor and Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) won Best Actor and Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical. Steven Spielberg won Best Director for The Fabelmans.   

In the Best Original Song category, ‘Naatu Naatu’ was competing against – ‘Carolina’ (Taylor Swift) from Where the Crawdads Sing, ‘Ciao Papa’ (Alexandre Desplat, Roeban Katz, and Guillermo del Toro) – Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,  ‘Hold My Hand’ (Lady Gaga, BloodPop, and Benjamin Rice) – Top Gun: Maverick and ‘Lift Me Up’ (Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Göransson) – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The film was also nominated for Best Non-English Language Film. In the Best Non-English Language Film category, RRR lost to Argentina’s Argentina, 1985.   

The song features  Ram (Ram Charan) and Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.) singing the lyrics and out-dancing the rich British men at a fancy British party, encouraged by Bheem's love interest Jenny (Olivia Morris). By the song's climax, Ram and Bheem ignite a dance battle between themselves and the British men, who each fall down one by one as they fail to keep up; and despite being cheered for, Ram pretends to injure his leg and falls over to allow Bheem to win the battle and impress Jenny. The dance was choreographed by Prem Rakshith.  

The movie set in the surroundings of a century back, in  1920, during the British Raj, administrator Scott Buxton and his wife Catherine visit a forest in Adilabad, where they abduct Malli, a young girl with a talent for artistry, from the Gond tribe. Enraged by the act, the tribe's guardian Komaram Bheem, embarks to Delhi with the intent of rescuing her.  Elsewhere, the Nizamate of Hyderabad, sympathetic to the Raj, warns Scott's office of the impending danger. At Bheem's public flogging, Raju attempts to persuade him into recanting his actions; the former chooses to be flogged instead.  In honor of completing their respective missions, Raju asks Bheem to let him grant a wish for him, to which, Bheem asks Raju to provide education to him and his community.


RRR released in 2022 in Telegu directed by SS Rajamouli, has changed the way people look at Telegu cinema.  Produced by D. V. V. Danayya the movie had NT Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody, and Olivia Morris. It centers around two real-life Indian revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Rama Rao), their fictional friendship and their fight against the British Raj.  The film was shot extensively across India, with a few sequences filmed in Ukraine and Bulgaria. The film's soundtrack and background score were composed by M. M. Keeravani, with cinematography by K. K. Senthil Kumar and editing by A. Sreekar Prasad.  Made on a budget of ₹550 crore ($72 million), RRR is the most expensive Indian film to date. Released on  25 March 2022 the film became a super duper hit. With ₹240 crore (US$30 million) worldwide on its first day, RRR recorded the highest opening-day earned by an Indian film. The film grossed ₹1,200 crore (US$175 million) worldwide, setting several box office records for an Indian film, including the third highest-grossing Indian film and second highest-grossing Telugu film worldwide.    

RRR received universal acclaim for Rajamouli's direction, writing, performances of the cast (particularly of Rama Rao and Charan's), soundtrack, background score, action sequences, cinematography, editing, and visual effects.  RRR became the third Indian film and the first Telugu film to receive nominations at the Golden Globes, including Best Foreign Language Film, and won Best Original Song for "Naatu Naatu" (transl.Dance Dance).   This  song was also released in Hindi as "Naacho Naacho",  in Tamil as "Naattu Koothu", in Kannada as "Halli Naatu" and in Malayalam as "Karinthol”  

Despite Rajamouli’s own Baahubali getting better reviews and ratings than RRR, there was something about the latter that made everyone in the West sit up and notice this period drama. RRR’s win comes at a time when regional cinema in the south is under the spotlight. Titles like KGF, Pushpa, Kantara and RRR have pushed talent from the South of India to the forefront and had audiences sit up and notice these films.   The win at the Globes is like a booster shot in the arm for Indian cinema and come March 12 when the Oscars play out, this deafening noise of cheer for RRR is only going to get louder.  

Really this song has now made the entire globe look up towards Telegu tinseldom.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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