How did desi dance hit floor Golden Globes jury?

12 January,2023 07:30 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Sonia Lulla

Indian musicians weigh in on what sent M M Keeravani’s composition Naatu naatu right to the top of coveted international film awards

A still from the song

It wasn't too long ago that foreign-film viewers would poke fun at Indian cinema's song-and-dance routine. Slowly and surely, it caught their interest, and eventually won them over. M M Keeravani's win at the 80th Golden Globe Awards yesterday represented just that - a celebration of a song that was all things Indian. RRR's Naatu naatu, which was adjudged the best original song, has an upbeat traditional score and a choreography that's as desi as it can get. Indian musicians say it is this rare combination that has been admired by the West.

Keeravani at the Golden Globes. Pic/PTI

Composer Sachin Sanghvi of Sachin-Jigar fame believes it is Keeravani's catchy beat, coupled with filmmaker SS Rajamouli's vision, which made the song stand out. "Naatu naatu is catchy and infectious. The world hasn't seen this sort of energetic and crazy dance; it is a rarity for them. It is the song's energy that has appealed to people, worldwide," he reasons.

With this win, the RRR composer left behind American mammoths like Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, who were vying for the gong. International portal Variety referred to the development as the win of ‘the underdog'. On home turf, though, Keeravani is far from an underdog. His musician friend Sivamani is glad that the world has "finally recognised such a great composer". "He is the king of melody.

The RRR team at the awards gala

Even his funk, rock music will have melody. This song is such an enjoyable watch. The choreography that sees the leading men compete, is a treat." Singer-musician Daler Mehndi seconds his opinion. "Keeravani's music can be ethnic, folk, and classical, all at once. A man with a golden heart has won the Golden Globe."

Keeravani may have brought home the trophy, but no one would dismiss the role of choreographer Prem Rakshit in making the number - featuring Ram Charan and Jr NTR - the phenomenon it is. At a time when OTT viewers have the option of skipping a song, Naatu naatu is one that they will watch a second time over. "Would a song be as impactful if a person simply stood at a place and sang it," asks Leslee Lewis, making a case for the place of choreography in cinema.

Sivamani and Leslee Lewis

"My dad [PL Raj] was among the biggest choreographers of his time, and has worked in films like Sholay and Sargam. It is the song-and-dance [routine] that the international audience consumes. Also, we have now incorporated elements from the West into our work. So, while this is novel for the international audience, it is not entirely alien to them. Indian music has been striking a chord after Jai ho [Slumdog Millionaire]."

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golden globe awards RRR ss rajamouli ram charan Jr NTR Regional Cinema News Entertainment News Naatu Naatu
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