‘RRR’ Distributor Calls Out Twitter for Not Approving Telugu as a Language for Ads: ‘So You’ve Blocked Us?’

Variance Films says it is prohibited from advertising the hit Indian movie and its Oscar-nominated song “Naatu Naatu” on Twitter

Jr NTR in "RRR"
Jr NTR in "RRR" (Sarigama Cinemas)

Variance Films, the independent film distributor that is handling the hit Indian blockbuster “RRR” in the United States, called out Twitter on Thursday for blocking its FYC ads for the film and its Oscar-nominated song “Naatu Naatu” because Telugu isn’t an approved language for marketing on the social-media platform.

In a tweet that tagged Twitter CEO Elon Musk and Twitter’s support account, Variance claims that it is unable to post a video encouraging Academy voters to pick “RRR” for the Best Original Song Oscar, a category in which the film became the first Indian production to earn a nomination with its song “Naatu Naatu.”

“Telugu, spoken by over 81 million people, isn’t an ‘approved language’ for ads, so you’ve blocked us from advertising entirely for trying to promote a subtitled clip?” Variance tweeted.

Directed by S.S. Rajamouli, “RRR” has gained a cult following in the U.S. and has served as a gateway for non-Indian moviegoers to Tollywood, the South Indian movie industry that produces films in Telugu and has passed the Hindi-based Bollywood in terms of box office gross in India over the past two years. While “RRR” is streaming on Netflix in a Hindi dub, the original Telugu dub is only available to stream in the Indian movie streaming platform Zee5.

Written by composer M.M. Keeravaani, “Naatu Naatu” is taking its popularity within Hollywood into a Best Original Song Oscar race with some of America’s top pop stars, including Lady Gaga for the “Top Gun: Maverick” song “Hold My Hand” and Rihanna for the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” song “Lift Me Up,” which doubles as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.

Now, Variance’s attempts to push its “For Your Consideration” campaign for the song are running into a social media platform that is besieged by critics and technical issues. Last week, users worldwide found themselves unable to send tweets or follow new accounts for several hours due to a major site error. Musk, meanwhile, reportedly ordered Twitter staff to change its algorithm to promote his tweets above anyone else’s after he was angered that President Joe Biden’s tweets were getting more engagement than his on Super Bowl Sunday.

TheWrap has reached out to Twitter for comment.