If India’s moment in history is now, thanks to S S Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’, Indian cinema is also poised at the pivot of global recognition as the 95th edition of the Oscars is set to unfold in the US on March 12. The Academy Awards, which we all know better as the ‘Oscars’, are considered the ultimate achievement for any filmmaker worth his salt. While Indians and India-based movies have won Oscars earlier, this is the first time that a truly ‘Made in India’ movie is looking at a realistic chance of winning an Oscar for India, in the Best Song category for ‘Naatu Naatu’.
The string of US awards that the movie has bagged points to the ‘RRR’ effect on the USA.
With the movie capturing the imagination of American audiences, Rajamouli has almost become a household name in the US. Making it to the Oscar nominations was certainly not a quirk of fate or plain luck. Once the movie began to get noticed in the US, the makers got down to promoting the movie in right earnest.
Starting with visits to promote RRR, to attending awards ceremonies, interacting with local media, and appearing on a variety of talk shows, Rajamouli has been a frequent visitor to the US after the release of ‘RRR’.
In September last year, Rajamouli embarked on the first of his series of visits to the US. The ace director made his debut at an American film festival with “From Tollywood to Hollywood: The Spectacle & Majesty of S S Rajamouli” program as part of the 10th edition of L.A.’s Beyond Fest. The month-long event featured several of his best known films.
In January this year, Rajamouli was back in the US again. This time for a shot at the Golden Globe awards.
The Golden Globe at Los Angeles, is foremost among the awards that RRR clinched in the US. Pitted against competition from US singers like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna, ‘Naatu Naatu’ won the coveted award to make history as the first Indian production to achieve this feat.
The highlight of this visit was Rajamouli’s encounter with Hollywood directors Steven Spielberg and James Cameron.
“Your movie (RRR) was outstanding!” Spielberg, famed director of ‘ET’ and ‘Schindler’s List’ among others, had complimented Rajamouli and his visual style.
“If you ever wanna make a movie over here, let’s talk,” James Cameron of ‘Titanic’ fame had said to Rajamouli.
Throughout, the Tollywood director exuded a confidence steeped in his Indianness.
Whether it was when he was accepting awards, dressed in traditional Indian attire, or firmly explaining the difference between Bollywood and non-Bollywood movies, to American journalists, Rajamouli was charm personified in his US sojourns.
Apart from the Golden Globe, ‘RRR’ also garnered recognition through awards at several prominent film events in the US.
Among others, the movie also made its mark at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards (HCAA) where the crew and cast received the Spotlight Winner Award.
Rajamouli also walked away with the Best Director award at the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) gala.
With the Oscar Awards set to be announced on March 13, SS Rajamouli has already landed in the US, his third ‘RRR’ visit so far and possibly the thrilling finale for an epic that hit theatres on March 24, almost a year ago.
–By Narendra Puppala