MM Keeravani has had an interesting start to 2023, beginning the year by making Indian Golden Globe history by winning an award for his song, Naatu Naatu, and receiving the Padma Shri honor. And the music master believes it marks the start of a new era for Indian music worldwide.
“The feeling is good. But it doesn’t leave me in a state where I am shouting out loud and celebrating by calling friends and attending champagne parties. I don’t do that. In my 34-year-long career, I have seen many ups and downs,” Keeravani says.
The 61-year-old musician continues, “My project, Baahubali, earned over ₹2000 crore, breaking all the records. At that time also, I did not celebrate anything. That is because if I celebrate my success, it may leave me in a good mood at that moment. But later when you come across a failure, it will get me depressed too. So, I don’t celebrate my success nor get into any depression when I face failure. I’m happy with whatever is happening. It’s a good feeling, but that’s it. At the most, I will go to the bakery and buy some croissants”.
Keeravani has written hits in Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi over the years, drawing inspiration from folk music and classical ragas. He is the creator of hits like Jaadu Hai Nasha Hai (Jism; 2003) and Aa Bhi Jaa (Sur; 2002). His RRR track Naatu Naatu is now going him somewhere. He won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.
He also talks about what the Oscar nod means to him. He says, “People will get to know about Indian culture and music. It may open doors wider than ever for the world to embrace Indian music, culture, and literature. It is a very good change. We are no less than any other culture in the world”.
“We have got Hindustani music, which has got 10 to 12 thoughts. And we have Carnatic music which has 72 main ragas from which derive thousands of raga subsets. So, this rich Indian classical music can be explored further by enthusiasts and aspirants from the West, which is very good. It’s an ocean of music. The more you explore, the more you are enriched. Naatu Naatu is just the beginning. We have more miles to go. It’s a very big journey,” adds the composer,
"Padma Shri is a certificate issued by the government," he explains, and he intends to use his celebrity for good.
“There are many stalwarts and seniors who deserve this. They have such knowledge and wisdom in terms of music, but randomly we get recognized by the government. Padma Shri is a good thing, but a random thing. There are no hard and fast rules or set rules and regulations as to who gets it. But I want to take this opportunity, as now my words are a little more focused, to highlight unsung heroes and my gurus. And that is how I’m going to use this newly acquired Padma Shri fame,” says the composer, who is now looking forward to attending the Oscars.