The self-fulfilling prophecy of RRR’s Naatu Naatu song!

When an event in the real world is inspired by a creative work, they say—life imitates art. It’s most often used in the context of movies influencing life.

Have you ever heard of a movie influencing itself through its own art?

The obvious thing to say would be—if the movie is good, then more people will watch it, and then it makes more money. That’s how a movie influences its own destiny.

But…there’s a higher order ‘life imitating art’ event that I noticed recently.

It’s with the Naatu Naatu song from RRR; thanks to its recent Golden Globe Awards win for best original song.

I see that song as an extraordinary self-fulfilling prophecy which I am sure even the filmmakers did not see coming.

Here’s my theory:

If RRR is the complete movie, the song Naatu Naatu is a movie within the movie.

It has a proper setup—starting with humiliation—a Britisher admonishing brown Indians for not having eclectic tastes nor awareness of world music and dance forms like Tango, Salsa, Flamenco, etc.

Then there’s the challenger—our hero Ram—he asks the Britisher if he knows Naatu dance. Naatu is a term used to denote something extremely local; not just for dance, but even food and general habits.

Then starts the dance off, and the Naatu dance form proves to be the winner; to much applause from the exhausted but bemused British crowd.

It’s a win for a local art form in front of an audience for whom all this is alien.

You would have guessed what my theory is by now.

It is actually a two-step story.

Part 1: India

RRR is essentially a Telugu film. A film made by a regional director in a regional language. We could call it a Naatu product.

The more glamorous sibling Bollywood (Hindi film industry), held sway over Indian minds for a really long time. All other regional language films were content to bask in their local glory, and didn’t make much of a dent across the country.

Until there was this challenger in the form of S. S. Rajamouli.

His first Naatu moment was when he introduced his Baahubali film series to India.

The rest as we know is history—he won that dance off with not just Bollywood but every other film industry in India and firmly changed not just the dynamics of the Indian film industry but the psyche of the Indian filmgoer.

Pan-India film is the new buzzword for Indian films right now, all thanks to him.

Part 2: World

Easy to assume that Baahubali’s Naatu moment is the end of our story.

There’s a bigger stage to conquer—the world.

That’s where S. S. Rajamouli’s recent Naatu product RRR is making a dent right now.

For a world that still imagines India to be a land of snake charmers and Bollywood dances; Rajamouli gave them the same medicine in ample doses; rather in such extreme doses that the world had no choice but to stand up and take notice.

The kind of appreciation the film has been garnering from western critics and movie lovers world over—is nothing short of incredible.

As implausible as it seems that Ram Charan and Jr. NTR could pull off those dance moves and wow the British crowd at the party—a similar energy seems to have possessed the movie RRR and in how it is being perceived across the world.

The Golden Globe Award is the first step in validating that fact. And the road ahead looks well paved for a potential Oscar win or wins.

Anything seems to be possible with this self-fulfilling prophecy of a movie called RRR.

The Naatu Naatu song laid the seed, and destiny is taking care of the rest.


Kartik Dayanand Boddapati

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