Pervez Saleem (Producer/Director)

A first Academy Award for an Indian film — and then a second on the same night

Courtesy: Dawn News/Reuters

‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR won the Academy Award for best original song and The Elephant Whisperers won best documentary short film.

Indians erupted in celebration on Monday after ‘Naatu Naatu’, the breakout hit from the action movie RRR, won the Academy Award for best original song, making history as the first movie from the country to win the honour.

The song — a fast-paced number that has found fans all over the world, spawned a TikTok challenge and has millions of views on YouTube — won a standing ovation when it was performed at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

Indians had won Oscars previously, but no Indian film had won an Academy Award before Sunday night in Los Angles. RRR and The Elephant Whisperers, which won best documentary short film, gave the country two Oscar-winning films in one night.

Ashwani kumar@BorntobeAshwani
The Moment #RRR‘s #NaatuNaatu Won the #BestOriginalSong in #Oscars2023. Save this to your hearts, because its the rise of Indian Cinema. Thank You @ssrajamouli for this honor #SSRajamouli #JrNTR #RamCharan #Oscars95 #Oscars

“No words can describe this surreal moment. Dedicating this to all our amazing fans across the world. THANK YOU!!,” the Twitter account for RRR posted.

Television showed images of people dancing to the song in the streets, minutes after the award was announced, even as #NaatuNaatu was a top trend on Twitter.

“The popularity of ‘Naatu Naatu’ is global. It will be a song that will be remembered for years to come,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on Twitter, congratulating the team behind the song.

“Entire India is proud. They have brought India to the world stage,” singer Prudhvi Chandra, one of the singers of ‘Naatu Naatu’, told the India Today news channel.

In the film, made in the South Indian language of Telugu and directed by S.S. Rajamouli, ‘Naatu Naatu’ begins when the two leads, played by Ram Charan and N.T. Rama Rao Jr., flaunt their dance skills after being bullied as the only Indian people invited to a British party in colonial times.

When a young British man aims racist insults at the leads, they decide to educate him using the song ‘Naatu Naatu’. During the scene, which was filmed at Ukraine’s grand Mariinskyi Palace, everyone at the party, including the scoffing British man, tries to master the moves.

At the Oscars, composer M.M. Keeravani burst into song while accepting the award on stage, along with songwriter Chandrabose. “I feel this is about just the beginning of everything so that the world — particularly the Western world — focuses more on Indian music and Asian music, which is long due,” Keeravani said backstage after winning the award.

The Elephant Whisperers is about a couple in South India who adopt a baby elephant and care for him.

Netflix India@NetflixIndia

The following is the full list of 2023 Oscar winners:

Best Picture

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Actor (female)

Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Actor (male)

Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Best Director

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Actor (male)

Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Actor (female)

Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front, Germany

Best Animated Feature Film

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Best Documentary Feature Film


Best Original Screenplay

Everything Everywhere All at Once, written by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Best Adapted Screenplay

Women Talking, screenplay by Sarah Polley

Best Original Score

All Quiet on the Western Front, Volker Bertelmann

Best Original Song

‘Naatu Naatu’, from RRR, music by M.M. Keeravaani; lyrics by Chandrabose


All Quiet On The Western Front, James Friend

Visual Effects

Avatar: The Way of Water


Top Gun: Maverick

Film Editing

Everything Everywhere All at Once

Production Design

All Quiet On The Western Front

Costume Design

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ruth Carter

Makeup and Hairstyling

The Whale

Documentary Short Film

The Elephant Whisperers

Short Film, Live Action

An Irish Goodbye

Short Film, Animated

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

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