Do you know... naatu? It's safe to say the entire world does following Sunday's 95th Oscars, where the infectious song-and-dance number from RRR was recreated onstage during Hollywood's biggest night. Deepika Padukone introduced the performance, highlighting the historic nature of "Naatu Naatu" being "the first song ever from an Indian production to be nominated for an Oscar," and also "a total banger." Singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava performed the song — which you can watch below — and in doing so, brought Tollywood to Hollywood for the night.
"Naatu Naatu" made history again when the Telugu-language track won Best Original Song, becoming the first song from an Indian film to win in the category. (Indian composer A.R. Rahman previously won in 2009 for "Jai Ho," though Slumdog Millionaire was a U.K. production.)
"I grew up listening to the Carpenters, and now here I am with the Oscars," composer M.M. Keeravaani said onstage, before breaking into his own rendition of the band's song, "Top of the World": "There was only one wish on my mind, so was Rajamouli's and my family's. 'RRR' has to win, pride of every Indian, and must put me on the top of the world."
Onstage, lyricist Chandrabose simply added, "Namaste."
Set in the 1920s, S. S. Rajamouli's RRR follows the epic odyssey of two Indian revolutionaries (played by Ram Charan and N. T. Rama Rao Jr.) as they unite against the British Raj. The musical centerpiece of the blockbuster, "Naatu Naatu" is inspired by the percussive kuthu and teenmaar music of South India, and has gone from catchy crossover hit to global sensation.
Backstage following their Oscars win, the musicians elaborated on the historic nature of their victory, with Keeravaani saying, "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. I feel very happy. It's like opening doors for the world to embrace our culture and music."
"Right now, I'm on cloud nine," the composer added, "and I feel very blessed to have the greatest recognition of the world for my country, for my culture, for my motherland and for my movie industry."
For his part, Chandrabose said, "The only thing running in my mind now presently is I have to go to India. I want to show this honor to my wife and my children."
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