It goes without saying that it was a big day for Indian cinema at the 2023 Oscars. The nation's hit movie RRR was given its flowers at this year's ceremony. The movie's most famous song, "Naatu Naatu" by M.M. Keeravani, nabbed the award for "Best Original Song" at the 95th Academy Awards.
Those outside of India (or those who don't speak Telugu or any of the other Indian languages it was translated into) may not be immediately familiar with the smash hit track that has taken this year's Oscars by storm. So, what exactly is the meaning of "Naatu Naatu"? Keep reading to find out!
What is the meaning of "Naatu Naatu"? The song won big at the 2023 Oscars.
It takes a lot to be recognized by an institution as prestigious as the Academy Awards, but "Naatu Naatu" isn't your average song featured in your average movie. Spotlighted during a dance battle scene in the film, the inclusion of "Naatu Naatu" is about as energetic and in-your-face as can be. Likewise, the song's lyrics, originally composed by M.M. Keeravani in the Telugu language, carry a similar energy.
Translated into English, the track leads off with "Like an aggressive bull jumping in the dust of the fields / You to dance / The drum is ringing loudly / Son Raju fly and dance." In the film, this is timed perfectly with the dance battle starting. As the actors begin moving, the uprising lyrics continue with "Having a stick battle with rough shoes / Dance like a gang of young boys assembling under the shade of a banyan tree."
As the actors fully explode into their dance routine, the song continues with "Dance like as if you are eating a jowar roti with chili." It then carries over to the chorus, which translates to "Listen to my song," three times, and "Let's dance, dance, and dance / Let's dance O brave." This was followed by the same lyrics once again with the deviation in the final line being "Let's dance crazily."
To further the call to dance, lyrics continue with "Dance as if you have eaten green chiles / Dance like the sharp knife / Like beating a drum which makes your heart beat faster / Like the shrill voice of a bird which can make your ear numb."
Most of the rest of the song continues in a similar fashion, providing eclectic and humorous comparisons as to what people should dance like.
Towards the end of the track, the lyrics include "Dance in such a way that the blood in your body / Jumps violently which will make the Earth tremble / Like that the like in us shakes off / So jump until the dust rises into the air / Let's dance."
Given the upbeat and energetic way that RRR has introduced "Naatu Naatu" to the world (plus its dance routine), its win at the 2023 Oscars was more than well-deserved.