“Not salsa, not flamenco, my brother. Do you know naatu (country dance),” was the reply of suit-clad Alluri Sitarama Raju or Ram (played by Ram Charan) to an Englishman in the beginning of the song ‘Naatu Naatu’ in the movie RRR.

This native dance of Indian cinema has attracted movie lovers around the world with its hook steps, music, lyrics, cinematography, etc. Added to this, the song is one of the finalists in the ‘Best Original Song’ category at the 95th Academy Awards (Oscar awards).

Just like the Englishman Jake in the movie RRR, many would like to know more about Naatu Naatu’s making, and the efforts involved in making it what it is today.

Explaining the process behind the making of Naatu Naatu in the ‘Notes on a Scene’ series in the US-based magazine Vanity Fair, SS Rajamouli, Director of RRR, said the entire story of RRR is within that ten minutes of Naatu Naatu lead scene and the complete song.

Though Ram Charan and Jr NTR (Bheem in the movie) are seen dancing in this song, it is actually a fight scene for the story, he said. The song starts off on a bad note as an Englishman is humiliating them.

The lead characters, who are there for a purpose in the movie, cannot really fist fight. It moves into a kind of competition. “You’re seeing a song, you’re seeing a dance, but in effect, you are getting the emotion of a fight,” he said.

In another interview with Screen Daily, he said the song has a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion. It has a character arc. He said that it is a self-contained short film in itself.


MM Keeravani, who scored the music for the song, told Variety magazine that he had composed around 20 tunes for Naatu Naatu. In a separate interview with Screen Daily, he said Rajamouli wanted to look into many different options. Many different tempos, time signatures, and lyrics were tried.

“Finally, he went with the first tune I had presented to him,” he said.

In another interview with USA Today, he said any two people can dance to this song, and it gives a feeling of camaraderie and togetherness.


While speaking to ANI recently, Chandrabose, writer of Naatu Naatu song, termed it a long journey in the creation of this song. “I wrote 90 per cent of the song within half a day, and the remaining 10 per cent took one year and seven months,” he said.

Chandrabose told Screen Daily that he got a call from Rajamouli while shooting the song in Ukraine. The director requested him to add the definition of Naatu Naatu within the song. Four lines were added within 20 minutes of the call.

“That means the song took 19 months and 20 minutes,” Keeravani said in the Screen Daily article.

He added that the process of writing, rewriting, and recording the song with its playback singers -- Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava -- took place over 19 months.

Stating that it took a consolidated two months in man hours to finish this song, Keeravani said usually three to ten days are taken to write and record a song completely.


Heaping praise on the choreographer of the song, Prem Rakshith, Rajamouli explained in the Vanity Fair series that the choreographer had worked with him, Ram Charan and Jr NTR before. He knew the style of both the actors and also knew fans’ expectations from these actors.

Rajamouli had given him the brief that the dance style would be not complicated as he wanted people to do the steps for themselves. Following this, Prem Rakshith presented him with more than 100 variations of the hook steps for Naatu Naatu. Rajamouli said that he had difficult time picking up the best three-four variations for Naatu Naatu.

After seeing the suspenders in the costume, Prem Rakshith asked Rama (wife of Rajamouli and costume designer of RRR) if he can make use of the suspenders in the song, which she readily agreed to. As a result of this, even dance moves with suspenders are a craze among the audience in overseas markets.

Rajamouli went into minute details while filming the song. In his Vanity Fair series, he said the artistes in the background were trained dancers. Another scene is where a few people- who were real musicians- are holding musical instruments. He said he wanted them to be musicians because they hold the instruments properly.


On shooting the song, Senthil Kumar, Director of Photography of the movie, told American Cinematographer magazine that RRR team needed many foreigners for the song sequence. However, it was difficult for the team to bring them to India due to Covid restrictions.

As Ukraine was one of the first countries to open for movie shooting, the team got a chance to shoot at Mariinskyi Palace- the home of the Ukraine president.

Shooting for the song was started in August 2021, and continued for around 15 days.

A look at the statistics on YouTube for Naatu Naatu song and its variation in other languages such as Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam shows a cumulative view of more than 43 crore. Of this, more than 26 crore is from the Hindi version alone. The 4.35-minute duration song has attracted the attention of various world leaders also.

In June 2022, Paul Hermelin, Chairman of the Board at Capgemini, took to LinkedIn to express his appreciation for the dance number, and asked his friends to match the hook steps of the dance.

Anand Mahindra of Mahindra Group, who was shown learning the basic steps from the actor Ram Charan at an event in Hyderabad in a video posted on his Twitter account, also wished the team good luck for Oscars.

When members from the Korean embassy posted a video of them performing the dance number on Twitter on February 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed it as lively and adorable team effort.

(Pictures in interactive visualisations are sourced from Twitter accounts of RRR and its team members)