Despite being a sprawling historical epic with comedy, drama, romance, friendship, and leopard fights, RRR only earned one Oscar nomination, for Best Original Song. But it won that Oscar, making “Naatu Naatu” both the first Telugu-language film to win an Oscar, and first Indian film to win Best Original Song. It also provided one of the highlights of the night, the live performance of the famous dance number. This is what we came for, and Team RRR did not disappoint. (The Academy, however, did, opting to work with non-South Asian choreographers who brought in a troupe of predominately non-South Asian dancers.)


The song was performed by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, who recorded the track for the movie, and the award was accepted by composer M.M. Keeravani and lyricist Chandrabose. It was certainly a raucous performance, though the makeup of the dancers was notable, especially given how notable RRR’s crossover success in North America is, and how major its inclusion at the Oscars is, period. I really don’t know why it was so hard to say, Hey, this is a big moment for South Asian representation and Indian cinema, let’s lean into it. I mean, they got Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone to introduce the song, so SOMEONE knew it was a big deal. Still, the crowd was audibly into it, and it made for one of the liveliest moments of the night (especially since all the other songs are bummers). 


Though they did not perform the dance number, RRR stars Ram Charan and N.T. Rama Rao, Jr. were present, along with director S.S. Rajamouli. Ram Charan wore a beautiful velvet bandhgala with a cool brooch—I love the recent trend of dudes wearing brooches—and his wife, Upasana Kamineni had a brooch of her own made of four hundred rubies. Meanwhile, NTR had a cool ass tiger embroidered on his jacket (by Gaurav Gupta). They look great. Allegedly, there will be an RRR sequel sometime down the line, I can’t wait.