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International honours


January 20, 2023: The Times of India

List of awards 'RRR' has won so far

'RRR' is a fictional story based on the lives of two Telugu freedom fighters, Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem. Ram Charan and Jr NTR played lead roles, respectively. The film collected over Rs 1,200 crore worldwide. Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn and Shriya Saran also starred in the film. It is worth mentioning that 'RRR' has made its first mark overseas. It made India proud by winning several prestigious International awards. Let’s have a look at them:

Golden Globe Awards (GGA)

Naatu Naatu, the irrepressible, fun number from the blockbuster RRR, danced its way to a Golden Globe as the ‘best original song-motion picture’ — and to Indian showbiz history — at a star spangled awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The song, which beat the likes of Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Lady Gaga, to win the coveted award is the first time that an Indian production has won a Golden Globe.

Critics' Choice Movie Awards (CCMA)

'RRR' starring Jr NTR and Ram Charan bagged the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Song for its track 'Naatu Naatu'. It also picked up the Critics’ choice award for the Best Foreign language film in a ceremony held in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA)

S.S. Rajamouli has made India proud once again after winning the Best Original Song and Best Foreign Language Film at the 28th Critics' Choice Awards. Celebrated music composer MM Keeravani has received the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s (LAFCA) best music score award for his work in filmmaker SS Rajamouli’s blockbuster “RRR”.

Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards (SEFCA)

The Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) announced their award winners in December, and RRR took home Best Foreign-Language Film Award and Top Ten Films of the year award.

Saturn Awards (SA)

'RRR' won the Best International Film Award at the 50th Saturn Awards. The film has been nominated in three categories, Best Action Adventure, Best International Film, Best Director. Although Rajamouli did not get an award as a director, his film received another rare honour.

New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO)

"RRR", a pre-Indian independence era fiction, features Ram Charan and Jr NTR in the lead roles earned honour for Top 10 Films award at the New York Film Critics Online.

New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC)

'RRR' helmer SS Rajamouli accepted the Best Director award at the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) gala recently.

National Board of Review (NBR)

The NBR has announced its 2022 honourees in December and SS Rajamouli’s RRR found a place in the Top 10 Films of the year.

Hollywood Critics Association Awards (HCAA)

In America, 'RRR' achieved another rare feat. The film received an award from the Hollywood Critics Association. The cast and crew of RRR received the Spotlight Winner Award.

Atlanta Film Critics Circle (AFCC)

'RRR', which received the award for 'Best International Picture', was also awarded by the Atlanta Film Critics Circle in the same category.

Georgia Film Critics Association (GFCA)

The Jr NTR and Ram Charan starrer received the Best International Film Award from the Georgia Film Critics Association after being nominated for three categories, Best Picture and Best Original Song.

Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC)

'RRR' is a pre-Independence fictional story focusing on two real-life Indian revolutionaries in the 1920s -- Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem, won Best Original Song Award from the Boston Society of Film Critics.

Austin Film Critics Association (AFCA)

Nick Powell, who choreographed breathtaking fight sequences for SS Rajamouli’s RRR, received the Best Stunt Coordinator award from Austin Film Critics Association organisation.

Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ)

The period action drama received the award for Best Non-English Language Film from Alliance of Women Film Journalists organisation.

Utah Film Critics Association (UFCA)

'RRR' premiered at Utah Film Festival and brought home an award in Best Non-English Language Feature category.

Success in the USA/ Canada

Simon Abrams, August 4, 2022: The Times of India

The Telugu-language action spectacular RRR , or Rise, Roar, Revolt , was already a worldwide box office winner when it was released in March, grossing $65 million during its opening weekend. But it took an unusual second release for the period epic from director SS Rajamouli to become a word-of-mouth smash hit across the US.

Now in its 10th week, it’s the rare Indian hit to catch on with American viewers outside the Indian diaspora, thanks to the unusual decision to relaunch the film weeks after it had already played across the country on 1,200 screens.

Set in Delhi during the early 1920s, RRR follows two patriotic but philosophically opposed men (Ram Charan and NT Rama Rao Jr) as they first clash with each other, then team up to rescue a kidnapped girl (Twinkle Sharma) from a pair of sadistic British colonial officials (Alison Doody and Ray Stevenson).

A Hindi-language version made for the Bollywood market has been available to Netflix subscribers since May and was among the service’s top 10 most watched titles in America for nine consecutive weeks. But even with simultaneous streaming, the movie has now grossed $14 million at the American box office and played in 175 additional theatres across 34 states.

By contrast, the Telugu-language crime drama Pushpa: The Rise - Part 1 , the highest-earning Indian movie of last year, made only $1.32 million during its American release.

First taste of Tollywood

Dylan Marchetti, the president of the distributor Variance Films, estimates that most of the RRR ticket buyers had never before seen a production from Tollywood, the film industry that caters to audiences in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The story of how RRR broke through in the US involves a rare relaunch — sold to moviegoers as an “encoRRRe” — by Variance in conjunction with an independent consultant, Josh Hurtado, and Sarigama Cinemas, the movie’s original distributor.

Marchetti, who had previously booked contemporary Indian movies at the now-closed ImaginAsian theatre in Manhattan, saw the film’s potential crossover appeal after repeatedly watching it with enthusiastic audiences in March.

Hurtado, the main consultant at the independently run Potentate Films, also felt the movie had universal appeal. He had previously helped international film festivals showcase hitmaker Rajamouli’s surreal 2012 action fantasy Eega . Together, the two contacted Sarigama Cinemas to collaborate on a one-night-only theatrical revival of RRR .

They hoped that the event would create what Marchetti called “new evangelists” who could widen the movie’s reach from a few hundred fans to tens of thousands across the country, with some help from social media and the hashtag #encoRRRe. The ticket sales for those June 1 screenings were so impressive that Marchetti and Hurtado soon expanded their encoRRRe plans.

The response was never a given. Most new Indian movies are not marketed to American viewers beyond those who speak the film’s language, and most such films are already screened at national chains like AMC and Cinemark. Many American programmers and exhibitors also still face significant financial pressure created by the pandemic. “Independent theatres are hurting right now,” Marchetti said, “some very badly.”

Impressive sales pitch

After some negotiations with Sarigama Cinemas, Hurtado and Marchetti spent a hectic month planning the re-release. Some American programmers and exhibitors were sold on RRR just because of Hurtado and Marchetti’s pitch. Beth Barrett, for instance, screened the movie on June 1 at the Seattle International Film Festival Cinema Uptown.

“SIFF is known for always being up to try something new,” Barrett said. “And our audience is always up for an event screening, so we booked the screening based on Dylan’s enthusiasm and the trailer he sent over, plus his decades of amazingly eclectic audience-friendly taste.”

Gregory Laemmle, the president of the West Coast theatre chain that bears his name, attended the Seattle screening after booking RRR at three of the Laemmle Theaters’ California locations. (RRR has since gone on to play at five Laemmle theatres.) Laemmle was already a believer, sight unseen, thanks partly to Marchetti’s recommendation and partly to enthusiastic social media responses from the initial release. Ticket sales at Laemmle theatres were high enough to warrant a weeklong engagement, which began June 3. “But after seeing the movie, I knew that I would need to clear space for that run to play longer,” Laemmle said.

Cristina Cacioppo programmed RRR at the Nitehawk Prospect Park in Brooklyn, where it drew enthusiastic moviegoers in the 20-30 age range, most from outside the Indian diaspora. “There was an overall wave of joy throughout,” Cacioppo said by email, adding later. “You could feel the room smiling, the jaws dropping.”

Jake Isgar at the Alamo Drafthouse chain said there were at least 10 rounds of spontaneous applause from a packed screening in San Francisco. “This movie is great on whatever-sized screen you watch, but it’s next-level in a full theatre with a rabid audience,” he added.

Hurtado said that many encoRRRe attendees praise the film for the same reasons that had previously dissuaded them from watching new Indian movies: “long run times, song and dance numbers, and ridiculous action”, he said. “People come out saying they wish that this three-hour movie was longer.”

Marchetti has also found that RRR has become a “gateway drug” for new Indian movie fans. Some film programmers, like Isgar, have been so inspired by the audience response that they have booked a few future screenings of new Indian movies, like the Hindi-language superhero fantasy Brahmastra Part One: Shiva as well as repertory titles like Rajamouli’s Eega .

Action-packed cinema

Indian moviegoers already know about Rajamouli’s knack for maximalist action and imaginative set pieces, many of which are built around dynamic special effects and choreography. The musical number ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR has also become a viral hit thanks to Charan and Rama Rao’s playful syncopated dance moves and infectious singing.

In a recent Zoom interview, Rajamouli recalled seeing Indian audiences cheer the ‘Naatu Naatu’ scene on opening night but said he wasn’t sure how the scene would be received outside the country. “Indian filmmaking has some exclusive styles,” Rajamouli said. “Song and dance, for example. It can be very tacky, if used just for the sake of it. But can be very dramatic and compelling” if used strategically.

Still, Rajamouli knew that ‘Naatu Naatu’ would be a hit as soon as he cast Charan and Rama Rao, who both had worked with Rajamouli on earlier hits.

In hindsight, Rajamouli’s breakthrough with Western audiences seems almost inevitable after the recent global success of his two-part Baahubali historic epics from 2015 and 2017, the latter of which ultimately grossed an unprecedented $20 million in the US.

Rajamouli hopes to adapt a movie version of The Mahabharata — with Telugu dialogue, because “I think in Telugu” — but not any time soon. “I have a long way to go before I feel I can take on such a project,” he said.

Meanwhile, Marchetti and Hurtado continue to arrange RRR screenings in the US, including at theatres in West Virginia and Hawaii. Marchetti compared the American release of new Indian movies to a continuing celebration, with companies like Variance and Potentate Films helping pass out invitations.

“The party may have started earlier and without you,” Marchetti said. “But it’s a good party, whether you show up or not, and you can still show up at any time.”

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