The film owes its success, in no small part, to its musical centrepiece, which Variety called “a movie-music adrenaline blast”. Naatu Naatu made Indian cinema history by winning the Golden Globe for best original song in January, defeating major contenders like Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. With an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, and a slated performance at the Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday, interest in the song is at an all-time high.
Social media phenomenon
While viewers in India have been humming the words and dancing to the tune, do they think this is unique or extraordinary? Perhaps not. Anand Krishnamoorthi, a sound designer working on south Indian films, while calling this song “trippy and enjoyable,” tells BBC Culture; As Indian moviegoers, we have definitely heard better, whereas for an audience not so familiar with our kind of films, it may be fresh. But there is no doubt about its impact. As Reem Khokhar, an Indian writer who set herself a dance challenge for an entire year, tells BBC Culture; “There was a raw, frenetic energy that just exploded on-screen, I haven’t enjoyed watching a song so much in a long time.”
Krishnamoorthi is, however, delighted that an Indian song has been nominated for best song at the Oscars. This has only happened once before, when composer AR Rahman won for Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire (2009). But that film was not strictly Indian, having been directed by Danny Boyle, along with a mostly British crew.
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