Indian Cinema Bags its First Golden Globe with M. M. Keeravani’s “Naatu Naatu”

Oishika Hota, Contributor

Golden Globe history was made on Wednesday by M.M. Keeravani with his song “Naatu Naatu” from the Telugu (South Indian language) movie RRR (“Rise Roar, Revolt.”) The film won the award for “Best Original Song”, beating Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. The only other Indian to win a Golden Globe is A.R. Rahman for his song “Jai Ho” which featured in the British drama “Slumdog Millionaire.”

As Keeravani accepted the prestigious award, he first made it a point to thank his wife. “It’s been an age-old practice to say that this award actually belongs to someone else. So I was planning to not say those words when I get an award like this, but I am sorry to say I am going to repeat the tradition because I mean my words,” he said.  Keeravani also thanked the lead actors, Ram Charan and N.T. Rama Rao Jr., whose electrifying and high-energy dance moves made the song as popular as it is. 

Golden Globe history was made on Wednesday by M.M. Keeravani with his song “Naatu Naatu” Keeravani pictured collecting his award. (CC: Rich Polk/NBC via Getty Images)

The film is set in the 1920s British Raj. It is a story based on two renowned revolutionaries from India’s Andhra Pradesh – Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem, played by Charan and Rao respectively – who returned home after years of traveling and began their rebellion against the British. The movie is a fictionalized take on their complex friendship and their fight against colonial power. The film is full of catchy music and dance numbers and enthralling action sequences, typical elements of South Indian cinema that make it so popular.

“Naatu Naatu”, a metaphor that translates to “Dance Dance”, reflects the departure of the British from India. The song is set at a fancy garden party, where the unwelcome and humiliated “heroes” start a dance contest between themselves and the British. They eventually win as nobody is able to keep up with the fast-paced protagonists who dance arm in arm for most of the song.

The political messaging of the song marries foot-tapping beats, and captivating choreography by Prem Rakshith to give the audience a song that ignites a celebratory feeling within them and compels them to dance along. The video was critically acclaimed and loved by the Indian audience who made the hook a viral sensation on Instagram. The music video was shot in front of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s official residence in 2021, before the Russian invasion began in February 2022.

The Golden Globe has taken India by storm, with everyone, including the prime minister of the country, Narendra Modi, and Bollywood’s “King Khan”, Shah Rukh Khan celebrating the iconic win on various social media platforms. 

Watch the song on Youtube