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‘Naatu Naatu’ Oscar Performance Still Draws Critics

Where were the South Asian dancers during last week’s Oscars performance? Naatu Naatu? This is the heart of the continued criticism of the international film’s viral hit song dance sequence RRR as executed in the night.

Naatu Naatu made Oscar history as the first song from an Indian film to win the Oscar for Best Original Song – brushing aside heavyweights Lady Gaga and Rihanna to clinch the prize.

With music by composer MM Keeravani and lyrics by Chandrabose, the Telugu-language song’s victory followed an exuberant performance, including the film’s “hook dance” steps revamped for the Dolby Theater stage.

However, something was missing in the night, as many outlets were quick to point it out – then and since.

Dancers perform ‘Naatu Naatu’ from ‘RRR’ onstage during the 95th Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theater on March 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Rich Polk/Variety via Getty Images)

'Naatu Naatu' Oscar Performance Still Draws Critics

Art school students put the finishing touches on a painting of Indian actors NT Rama Rao Jr. (L) and Ram Charan of Indian film RRR, along a street in Mumbai on March 13, 2023. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

Pieces per Variety, The LA Times, IndieWire, and more, lamented that no dancer of South Asian descent was seen, despite being from a film by Indian filmmakers, about Indian history and heavily informed by Indian music styles . AV Club Details:

[…] while the Oscar version of the dance was technically more diverse than the one in the film – which mainly concerns the characters of NTR Jr. and Charan dancing a group of sweltering British whites to the hilt – South Asian professionals in the dance community are still calling out the Oscars for ignoring the opportunity to showcase more South Asian artists on such a massive stage.

“Respectfully, where is the performance? asked choreographer Joya Kazi in an Instagram post leading up to the performance (but no news from her cast).

Dancer Achinta S. McDaniel recounted Variety“Some people say, ‘Just be happy with what we have,’ and that’s part of [the problem] – this idea of ​​just accepting the crumbs that are thrown at you. Just be happy that an Indian song got nominated [and won]. Don’t be mad at the overwhelming racism that showed up in the performance.

'Naatu Naatu' Oscar Performance Still Draws Critics

(L-R) Chandrabose and MM Keeravani accept the award for Best Original Song for ‘Naatu Naatu’ from ‘RRR’ onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theater on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Several critics have also drawn contrasts between the Naatu Naatu performance and the performance of Jai Ho Since Slumdog Millionaire at the 2009 Oscars, which featured “Indian singers and it was a multiracial group of dancers and musicians”.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not respond to criticism.

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