Rajamouli thanks Ukrainians for allowing 'Naatu Naatu' shoot at presidential palace

Naatu Naatu
The colours of the palace, the size of the palace, the size of the ground for the dancers to be there was the exact right size, SS Rajamouli. Screengrab: YouTube/Lahari Music /T-Series

Mumbai: Filmmaker SS Rajamouli is thankful to the people of Ukraine for playing an immense part in the creation of the iconic song 'Naatu Naatu' from his Telugu period action drama 'RRR'.

'Naatu Naatu', composed by MM Keeravani, is nominated for the Best Original Song award at the upcoming Oscars.

Rajamouli said they were originally supposed to shoot the song in India but due to the monsoon season they had to zero in on an new location -- Mariinskyi Palace at Kyiv.

"The first thing that comes to my mind when we talk about 'Naatu Naatu' is the location itself. It is shot in Kyiv, actually the presidential palace. This was actually supposed to happen in India but because it was monsoon time then, we were scouting for locations and we found this location.

Mariinskyi Palace
Mariinskyi Palace in Kyiv is the presidential palace. Photo: Shutterstock/Haidamac

"I thought I would have to look for some other location as it was the presidential palace, but they said 'It is Ukraine, you can get the job done.' I'm so thankful to the Ukranian team. The colours of the palace, the size of the palace, the size of the ground for the dancers to be there was the exact right size," the filmmaker said in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine.

'RRR' follows a pre-Independence fictional story woven around two real-life Indian revolutionaries - Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR) - in the 1920s. The film also features Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn, and Shriya Saran in key roles.

It is the first Indian film in over two decades to be nominated for the Academy Awards. 'Naatu Naatu', which already scooped up a Golden Globe win -- the first Indian song to do so.

In the interview, Rajamouli gave a breakdown about the making of the song, featuring Ram Charan and Jr NTR. He said apart from the lead stars, including Olivia Morris, all the other performers were professional dancers.

"I was really surprised with the level of professionalism, I loved working with them. I have worked with choreographer Prem Rakshith before, he has worked with both Charan and Jr NTR as well... He had a difficult job as I told him that the song should (look) nice, the steps shouldn't be too difficult so people can also replicate, and it should suit the style of the actors... Prem came up with more than 100 variations for the hook line of 'Naatu Naatu', so credit to him," the filmmaker added.

The most difficult part for both Charan and Jr NTR were the steps with the suspenders, he said.

The suspenders kept moving and sliding, Rajamouli said.

At the upcoming Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on March 12, 'Naatu Naatu' singer Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava are set to perform the song.  

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