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Oscars producer Raj Kapoor reveals why RRR stars Jr NTR, Ram Charan backed out from performing Naatu Naatu live at the event

Raj Kapoor, the producer of the Oscars 2023, revealed that Jr NTR and Ram Charan were set to perform Naatu Naatu live at the event. But, it all changed in February. 

Oscars producer Raj Kapoor reveals why RRR stars Jr NTR, Ram Charan backed out from performing Naatu Naatu live at the event
YouTube screen grab of Ram Charan and Jr NTR at Oscars.
  • Manoj Kumar R

Last Updated: 07.20 AM, Mar 15, 2023

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Raj Kapoor has carved a niche for himself as a creative producer for some of Hollywood's biggest shows, including the Oscars. He has been part of the Oscars since 2017. But, the recently-concluded Oscars were very special for him as he was able to pay tribute to his motherland India. He was tasked with putting together a big production of Naatu Naatu for the Oscars . The high-energy dance number, which has captured the imagination of the audience worldwide, was re-created with the help of the film's original choreographer Prem Rakshith. 

While sharing his experience of overseeing the Naatu Naatu production of the Oscar edition, he revealed that as per the original plan, the film's main star cast Ram Charan and Jr NTR were expected to perform live on stage. "Originally, the two leads were going to be the stars of the number alongside the singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava. The show was very instrumental in helping secure working visas for their team to be able to come to the U.S. to be a part of the performance," Raj told the Academy. 

However, the superstars backed out, requiring Raj and the team to scramble for performers to lead the dance. "In late February, we were informed that Ram Charan and N.T. Rama Rao Jr. would be attending the Oscars, but they did not feel comfortable performing the live number on stage. The change was brought on because of their other professional commitments and the limited amount of time to rehearse. The original number was workshopped and rehearsed for two months and was shot over a period of 15 days. The "Naatu Naatu" performance for the Oscars was rehearsed in Los Angeles with professional dancers for a total of 18 hours of rehearsal and one 90-minute camera blocking," he added. 

It seems the unexpected death of Jr NTR's cousin Nandamuri Taraka Ratna must have been the main reason behind the change to the production's original plan. After fighting for his life for 23 days following a massive cardiac arrest, Taraka Ratna passed away in the second week of February. Following his death, Jr NTR remained in India with his family and stayed away from all the Oscar promotions for RRR. He only left for the US, just a few before the Oscar event, after completing his cousin's memorial services. 

RRR created history after its song Naatu Naatu won the award in the best original song category.