Los Angeles: The electrifying performance of the Telugu track ”Naatu Naatu” by singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava at the Academy Awards stage brought the Dolby Theatre to life with dancers of all ethnicities acing the hook step of the international music sensation from ”RRR”.
The performance, which received a standing ovation, was introduced by Hindi cinema star Deepika Padukone, who had to pause at least thrice in between owing to the loud cheers from the A-list audience.
Padukone, dressed in a custom Louis Vuitton black gown and a statement Cartier neckpiece, said the Telugu chartbuster — composed by MM Keeravaani and penned by Chandrabose — illustrates the film’s ”anti-colonial themes” and is ”also a total banger”.
”It plays during an pivotal scene in ‘RRR’, a movie about the friendship between real-life Indian revolutionaries — Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem. In addition to being sung in Telugu and illustrating the film’s anti-colonial themes, it’s also a total banger,” the ”Pathaan” star said.
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”Naatu Naatu”, which features in SS Rajamouli’s ”RRR” (Rise Roar Revolt), celebrates the inclusive spirit of dance and bonhomie and features Ram Charan and Jr NTR matching steps to its catchy rhythm. The title of the track translates to bucolic in Telugu. It demonstrates the spirit of fun in country music in its over 4.35 minutes of runtime.
Padukone also raved about the song’s popularity on social media highlighting that it is the ”first song from an Indian production to be nominated for an Oscar”.
”Do you know ‘Naatu’ because if you don’t, you’re about to. From the film ‘RRR’, this is ‘Naatu Naatu’,” Padukone added, introducing the performance.
For the over two-minute-long act, the organisers recreated the set of the song which was originally shot in the lawns of the Presidential Palace of Kyiv, Ukraine.
The two male dancers — who were dressed as Ram Charan’s Ram and Jr NTR’s Bheem — were lip syncing the song. American dancer Lauren Gottlieb, who has worked extensively in the Indian film industry, was also part of the dance troupe.
Padukone joined the likes of Emily Blunt, Samuel L Jackson, Glenn Close, Dwayne Johnson, Michael B Jordan, Janelle Monae, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Connelly, Riz Ahmed and Melissa McCarthy among others as presenters for the awards gala.