It was truly a memorable day for India as it celebrated two big wins at the Oscars.
Team ‘RRR’ and ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ both won at the 95th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, making it a historic day for Indian filmmakers and the audience.
RRR’s Naatu Naatu
A victory that feels very personal to every Indian is that of ‘Naatu Naatu’! The song that made millions groove to its beats was also performed on the Oscar stage by a power-packed singer duo Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava. Later, the team lifted the trophy as the hall lit up with loud cheers and claps. The moment lyricist Chandrabose and composer MM Keeravani accepted the trophy will always be remembered as a revolutionary moment for Indian cinema.
During their acceptance speech, ‘Naatu Naatu’ composer M.M Keeravani said, “I grew up listening to the Carpenters and now here I am with the Oscars,” he began, and then began singing the melody of the ’70s pop smash “Top of the World”: ” ‘There was only one wish on my mind. … ‘RRR’ has to win, pride of every Indian, and must put me on the top of the world.”
Post the win, Jr NTR and Ram Charan expressed their gratitude to all those who believed in them.
Jr NTR said, “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. I would also like to congratulate the team of ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ on their win today bringing another Oscar to India.”
Ram Charan took to his Twitter account and shared a long note which he captioned, “We have won!! We have won as Indian Cinema!! We won as a country!! The Oscar Award is coming home!”
He continued, ” RRR is and will always remain as the most special film of our lives and of Indian Cinema history. I can’t thank everyone enough for manifesting the Oscar Award. It still feels like I am living in a dream. Thank you all for the unstoppable support and love. SS Rajamouli Garu and MM Keeravani Garu are the most precious gems of our Indian film industry. Thank you both for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this masterpiece.”
‘Naatu Naatu’ competed against ‘Applause’ from the film ‘Tell It Like A Woman,’ ‘Hold My Hand’ from the movie ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ ‘Lift Me Up’ from ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ and ‘This Is Life,’ from ‘Everything, Everywhere All At Once’.
The Elephant Whisperers
Guneet Monga’s ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, a documentary directed by Kartiki Gonsalves paved way for many to believe that India truly can take the centre stage globally. It won the Oscar in the ‘Best Documentary Short Film’ category against ‘Haul Out,’ ‘How Do You Measure A Year?’ ‘The Martha Mitchell Effect,’ and ‘Stranger At The Gate’.
In her winning speech, Gonsalves said, “I stand here today to speak on the sacred bond between us and our natural world. For the respect of indigenous communities. For entity towards other living beings, we share our space with. And finally for co-existence. Thank you to the academy for recognizing our film highlighting indigenous people and animals. To Netflix for believing in the power of this film. To Guneet my Producer and my entire team and finally, to my mother father, and sister who are up there somewhere, you’re the center of my universe. To my motherland India.”
Later, Guneet Monga took to Twitter and wrote, “We just win the first-ever Oscar for an Indian Production! Two women did this! I am still shivering.”
The film’s plot revolves around a family who adopts two orphan baby elephants in Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.
Special Mention: Shaunak Sen for All That Breathes
Kudos to Shaunak Sen for his documentary ‘All That Breathes’ which bagged the nomination in the ‘Documentary Feature Film’ category against ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’, ‘Fire Of Love,’ ‘A House made of Splinters,’ and ‘Navalny’.
Although the film didn’t make the cut, the nomination at the Academy Awards in itself is a big achievement.