India’s Golden Run at Oscars: RRR, The Elephant Whisperers roar with victory

MM Keervani, right, and lyricist Chandrabose, left, bow at the Oscars March 12, 2023, for winning Best Original Song category for Naatu Naatu. Photo: Twitter @RRRMovie
Oscar winners for Best Documentary The Elephant Whisperers, on stage, Kartiki Gonsalves reading out the acknowledgements, and Guneet Monga brandishing the Oscar, March 12, 2023. Photo: Twitter @GuneetM

Los Angeles : It was a memorable day for India as it celebrated two big wins at the Oscars March 12, 2023.

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.

Poster for RRR’s Best Original Song win at Oscars in Los Angeles March 12, 2023. Photo: Twitter @RRRMovie

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. Then he turned to song and sang his own words to 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.”

Continuing the acceptance speech, Jr NTR and Ram Charan expressed their gratitude to all those who believed in them.
“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

Filmmaker Guneet Monga speaking after winning the Oscar for Best Documentary March 12, 2023. Photo: Twitter @Guneet Monga

Guneet Monga’s ‘The Elephant Whisperers’, a documentary directed by Kartiki Gonsalves paved the way for many to believe that India truly can take the center 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’.

Still from The Elephant Whisperers which won the Oscar in the Best Documentary category March 12, 2023. Photo: Twitter @sikhyaent

In her acceptance 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 empathy 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, 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.

“Tonight is historic as this is the first ever Oscar for an Indian production. Thank you Mom Dad Guruji Shukrana To my Co-Producer Achin Jain, Team Sikhya, Netlflix, Aloke, Sarafina, WME Bash Sanjana. My lovely Husband Sunny. Kartiki for bringing & weaving this story,” Monga tweeted.

Special Mention: Shaunak Sen for All That Breathes

Shaunak Sen received recognition 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.



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