The One Liner

Making A Mark on the Globe: Who is MM Keeravani?

Pavani Mantripragada

January 15, 2023. 2 minute Read

We all have a particular bias toward our favorite artists. We, Indians, aren’t any different. But, it was a chest-thumping moment for every Indian when MM Keeravani, one of our significant Musicians, made it to the Global Stage to receive the Golden Globe. 

But why is winning the Golden Globe incredibly special for all? 

It’s simple. One individual among us is like a representation of all of us. When somebody represents their country, you not only represent your identity or true self but also describe how people in that country are. When MM Keeravani received his award for Naatu Naatu, we all felt it was an award given to us. We didn’t care if Selena won or Taylor Swift won. We celebrated that one of our own had won. 

Who is MM Keeravani?

Koduri Mathagamani Keeravani was born to a lyricist father, Koduri Siva Shakthi. His father, mother, brother, and son are all in the Music industry. He was into music from a very young age, following in his father’s footsteps. From his father’s experience, he understood which music works within the masses and which doesn’t. 

MM Keeravani had been making music for movies as an assistant music director since the late 1980s and then as a music director from 1990. Still, his first ever recognition sprung from Ram Gopal Verma’s Kshana Kshanam(1991), a Telugu blockbuster movie. Every song from that movie became a hit which helped him to make a name for himself. Soon after that, various production houses flooded him with offers to make music. One of the first albums for Hindi movies was the movie Criminal in 1994. 

In MM Keeravani’s 33 years as a music director, he has given several hits in various languages. He primarily made music for Telugu movies but also has created music in Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi. His career graphs have seen a rise from his inception in 1991. Although the movies flopped sometimes, his music was always a hit. He made music for almost 190 movies from 1990 to 2022. 

The peak current is that he has won a Golden Globe Award for Naatu Naatu and received nominations for the Oscars 2023. But they’re not the only awards he has won. He has won one National Film Award and eight Filmfare awards. The cousin duo SS Rajamouli and MM Keeravani have made some great hits. He received a Saturn Award for his music in Bahubali.

Making A Mark on the Globe: Who is MM Keeravani?
MM Keeravani gave music
for the movie, Bahubali.

The Story of , "Naatu Naatu" Song

It is necessary to talk about the magic of MM Keeravani to understand why it has become so popular. Behind the success of every song, there is always a team of music directors, lyricists, and singers. 

One thing about SS Rajamouli is that he’s a very picky person. You can’t just hand over something and expect him to like it. Out of the 20 songs MM Keeravani suggested for the dance sequence, which is just half an hour into the movie, he finally selected Naatu-Naatu.


The Naatu-Naatu song has to make you forget everything — and not just the viewer who is watching the movie, but the characters from the story, too, need to forget every other thing happening around them and pay their full attention towards the song. And the coda, the end part of the song, consists of so much stamina, you cannot call it merely a song — it is an action sequence.”

MM Keeravani

Chandrabose wrote the Telugu song. While 90% of the music took half a day for him to write, the rest 10% took him one year and seven months. Rahul and Kaala Bhairava, the singers of the song, had put all their energy into this song.  But it was torture for actors Ram Charan and Jr NTR. Jr NTR is known for his dance moves, but this song made him feel like dance was torture. From morning 8 to 8 at night, they danced for 20 days to satisfy Rajamouli. 

The song “Naatu Naatu” was shot in the President’s palace in Ukraine. 

All the hard work behind the song had taken off when it hit the American Audience and became a sensation on TikTok. It gained around 114 Million views on Youtube and 37 Million Hits on Spotify.  Watch the full video song here:

Why winning the Golden Globe is a Big Deal?

The Golden Globes for Best Original Song had big nominations. The Music Giants have a large, devoted fan following. Taylor Swift for Carolina. Lady Gaga for Hold My Hand from Where The Crawdads Sing from Top Gun Maverick, and Rihanna for Lift Me from Wakanda Forever. They all have a devoted record of winning several Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song. 

We had only heard of AR Rahman winning an international award for the Best Original Score. It was back in 2008. It won the Golden Globe Award and The Academy Award in 2008. Since then, no Indian music has won international awards. However, a Hindi song, Jai Ho, had been made for a British Movie Slumdog Millionaire. Naatu Naatu was different because it was a Telugu song from a Telugu Movie. We won a piece made in our home for our home movie.  

‘Naatu Naatu’ roughly translates to ‘Dance Dance.’

Academy Award For Naatu Naatu

The Naatu Naatu fever is still on as it wins the Oscar Award for the best original song. Out of the 26 Nominations in Oscars that Indian Cinema has, Naatu Naatu is the first song by Indian Producers though in the past as well, Indian Music Director won an Oscar award for Best Original song after Slumdog Millionaire’s Jai Ho by AR Rahman though it was under a foreign producer. 

India, till date, has only won 8 Oscar Awards which includes Naatu Naatu. Some previous Academy Award winners are The best costume by Bhanu Athaiya for Gandhi, Best Sound Mixing by Resul Pookutty, Best Original Song by Gulzaar and AR Rahman, Best Original Score by AR Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire, and Best Documentary by Guneet Monga for Period. End of Silence, Best Documentary by Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga for The Elephant Whisperer, and Best Original Song by MM Keeravani for Naatu Naatu.

Naatu Naatu is a testament of the fact that in the world of remixes being made as a sorry excuse for music, because  we still  have the creativity, talent, and opportunity to win Academy Awards for Original Music. 

MM Keeravani has set the record straight. With enough talent and creativity, we can make wonders with our music. The precedence set by him will hopefully be taken up further by many other Indian Music Directors to stop using remixes and find original music.Music has the potential to reach an individual’s heart—that art that MM Keeravani has mastered.

Final Thoughts

We all had heard the famous song Tum Mile Toh Dil Khile from 1994 Criminal, one of his first hits in Hindi music. Since then, he has gone on to bring wonderful Hindi music. A music giant in Telugu Movie Industry left his mark all over the world. The love for music he received from his mother and father blossomed into one of the finest music composers. The extensive range he has in making music is incomparable. 

Music has the potential to reach an individual’s heart—that art that MM Keeravani has mastered.

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