Human interest
Srikanth and Anil run a popular YouTube channel that showcases life in an Indian village, the humorous way.

Ever since singer-rapper Drake’s My Feelings’ dropped, the 'In My Feelings Challenge' or 'Kiki challenge' as it has come to be known, has taken over the internet. There have been several versions of the challenge, even involving animals like dogs and camels, but the recent viral one comes from a village in Telangana.

Two farmers from Lambadipalli village did the Kiki challenge with a twist – Anil Geela and Pilli Tirupati danced next to a pair of bullocks in a field, while the bullocks dragged the plough. They danced in muddy slush, which, Anil told TNM, was not easy. “We could have easily slipped and fallen. So we planned it and attempted it a few times, before shooting that video in one take,” he said.  

Watch Anil and Pilli’s video here.

Needless to say, the video has since gone viral, with people not only appreciating the uniqueness of their attempt, but also that they did in a safe manner.

The Kiki challenge generally involves one to step out of a vehicle and dance while it’s recorded from inside the vehicle, which in many cases, is moving slowly. Indeed, local police in various cities and states including Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai, have warned people against doing the Kiki challenge as it goes against road safety.

Planning the video

While 24-year-old Anil is, originally from Dargapalli in Telangana's Siddipet district, Pilli is a 30-year-old local farmer who liked the idea of the challenge and agreed to do it. Anil worked for two years in Dargapalli as a teacher in a private school before moving to Lambadipalli. He started working with Srikanth, who started ‘My Village Show’, on whose Instagram and YouTube accounts their Kiki challenge video was posted.

Anil said that it was Srikanth’s idea to do their own version of the viral challenge, with the village as a setting. “However, as we were planning it, we saw the police warnings and everyone started perceiving it as a dangerous stunt,” Anil recounts.

“But we wanted to show people that it was something fun at the end of the day and need not be done in a dangerous way. So we considered 2-3 ways in which we could shoot it. We even thought that maybe children could do the dance as they hit a tyre with a stick, but we finally decided to do it in this manner,” he adds.

Anil (L) and Pilli (R)

When asked if he expected the video would become so popular, Anil says they had no idea. “We had some expectation that people may like it, but we never thought it would spread like wildfire. Lots of people have been posting it on their social media accounts and it makes me very happy. Many are praising farmers and appreciating their lifestyles as well.”

Bringing the village into social media and pop culture

A USP of Anil and Srikanth’s video was that it brought the Indian rural landscape into pop culture, which does not happen very often. And that’s what the duo hope to do with ‘My Village Show’ as well.

From left: Pilli, Anil and Srikanth

Started by Srikanth (28) in November 2012 to make and popularise educational content within the villages, it wasn’t until 2016 that his YouTube channel gained popularity. “In 2015, we changed the name to 'My Village Show' and decided to do videos with a touch of humour that highlighted village life in general,” Srikanth tells TNM.

“Mostly, we looked at the culture and the potential interest in villages from urban areas. We saw a lot of scope and there was traction immediately. By 2017, it really took off.”

If you go to the YouTube page of ‘My Village Show’, you’ll see a number of videos with trendy titles – reaction videos (elders reacting to animojis, burgers), skits with types of people (like types of workers), expectations vs reality videos, honest videos (like honest mother’s day) and so on. There are also videos which show village life like a series on village elections, festival celebrations etc.

With almost five lakh subscribers on YouTube, it is easy to see why the channel is a hit- it has made life in the village accessible by infusing humour, skits, and social media friendly formats.

This is, of course, a big source of joy for Srikanth who always wanted to make videos and slowly taught himself about the technicalities of audio, video and lighting. Their core team has only 10 members, with Srikanth and Anil heading it 

Ask him if his family is as proud and Srikanth sheepishly says, “My father is a social worker. So he feels disappointed that the funny videos reach more people as compared to educational ones.”

While Srikanth had heard Drake’s songs and was aware of the challenge, he too did not their spin on the Kiki challenge to become so viral. “I’m very happy about it,” he says.