‘The Elephant Whisperers’, ‘Naatu-Naatu’ bring home Oscars

Indian cinema witnessed one of its biggest moments of glory on a global stage when ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short and RRR’s song ‘Naatu Naatu’ won for Best Original Song.

Both ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ and ‘RRR’ (Rise, Roar, Revolt) are Indian productions that tell stories deeply rooted in India and its culture. The Kartiki Gonsalves-directed ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ is a heartwarming documentary about Bomman and Bellie, a couple belonging to an indigenous tribe in south India, who dedicatedly look after orphaned baby elephants named Raghu and Ammu, forging a family like no other.

In contrast, S S Rajamouli-directed ‘RRR’ is a grand cinematic tale that packs action, adventure, music and dance as it follows the friendship of two revolutionaries who fight the British in the 1920s.

When musician M M Keeravani and lyricist Chandrabose received the coveted golden statuettes for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, it marked the culmination of the euphoria that ‘Naatu Naatu’, the electrifying song-and-dance sequence from RRR had kicked off.

The song’s immense popularity — 126 million views on YouTube and counting — powered the RRR team’s tireless campaign, spearheaded by Rajamouli. This campaign acquired a special significance since the RRR team continued its efforts to bring home the coveted golden statuette even after being snubbed during India’s official selection made by the Film Federation of India (FFI) for the country’s official entry for the Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category.

“This is an incredibly powerful and historical moment. We, as two women from India, stood on that global stage making this historical win. I’m so proud of this film, and proud of my amazing team at Sikhya Entertainment, that an independent production house from India has made the history to be the first ever Indian film by an Indian production to win an Oscar. My heart is racing with all the joy, love, excitement in the moment. I’m so grateful to Kartiki, the wonderful visionary that she is.”

— Guneet Monga, Producer, The Elephant Whisperers

“I cannot find the words to express my elation right now. This is not just a win for RRR but for India as a country. I believe this is just the beginning. Showing us how far Indian cinema can go. Congratulations to Keeravaani garu and Chandrabose garu. Of course none of this would have been possible without a master storyteller called Rajamouli and the audiences who showered us with all the love.”

— RRR Actor NTR Junior

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: Netflix India)

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