The Bollywood film industry is the largest cinema industry in the world. With 2000 films being made per year, this film industry has much to offer in terms of entertainment. This story becomes even more complex when we realize that the popular notion regarding Indian films only being made in Bollywood in the city of Mumbai is actually false; since in the south of India, film industries are broadly divided into three parts: Kollywood, which makes movies in the language Tamil, Tollywood that makes movies in Telugu and Mollywood that makes movies in Malayalam. For a long time, it has been very difficult for the south Indian film industry to be recognized in first in national and then in global platforms.
Having said that, it has always been surprising how Indian films are/were never recognized at the Oscars, given the amount and variety of films produced by India, that are being more and more modern/contemporary suited for a global audience.
With a growing representation of south Asian actors and performers, and with an ever-growing population of the subcontinent, the west is finally opening up to recognizing and rewarding south Asian talent. This year India finally sees Indian music and documentary films being nominated for and awarded the Oscars for the first time in history. People often mistake Slumdog Millionaire to be an Indian film when in reality is produced by Danny Boyle, a British Director. Even though the story talks about India, the film is not produced by Bollywood as popularly believed.
The year 2023 will remain in history as the year when not one but two Oscars went to India. The Oscar for the best original song was awarded to “Nattu Nattu” a Telugu song that is part of the film “RRR”: which features a story about two Indian men in pre-independence India under British rule. The song has been very popular on social media now earning millions of views on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Perhaps the highlight of the song is the choreography, with signature steps that have taken the world by storm and gone viral on social media after being performed by people from all over the world. The catchy beat, the amazing choreography, the set, the lead dancers who are the famous actors Ram Charan and Junior NTR have all made the song an incredible work of art that was rightfully nominated, and eventually awarded the Oscar. It is a proud moment for south India (Tollywood).
The other Oscar went to “The elephant whisperers”, a documentary film about an old couple who adopt a young baby elephant and take care of it. A short and emotive tale about this beautiful relationship that they develop with the elephant promises to leave you impressed and touched. After a long time, South Indian talent is finally making it to an International stage and getting all the recognition it deserves!
If you’re curious to know more, you can watch both films, “RRR” and “The elephant whisperers” on Netflix and learn the signature steps from this amazing song “Nattu Nattu”. Do look it up on YouTube. You will not be disappointed!!