Nikhil Yellidyappa?: PR stunt from 2016 haunts HDK’s son’s political debut

A badly managed audio launch ‘moment’ has turned JD(S) Mandya candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy into a running gag ahead of the General Elections.
Nikhil Yellidyappa?: PR stunt from 2016 haunts HDK’s son’s political debut
Nikhil Yellidyappa?: PR stunt from 2016 haunts HDK’s son’s political debut
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In 2016, Nikhil Kumaraswamy made his debut in the Kannada film industry with the film Jaguar. During the audio launch of the film, his father and current Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy was on stage – and the father and son were part of a PR stunt that is, well, embarrassing to watch to say the least.

“Nikhil yellu kanthane illa, yellidyappa? Nikhil, yellidyappa?” Kumaraswamy asks. (“Nikhil I can’t see you anywhere, where are you? Nikhil, where are you?”). And in a badly staged and poorly timed reply, Nikhil says from among the audience, “Ille idhini, Appa. Nimmanna, nam thathanna pranakkintha hechagi preethiso janagal madhya idhini, Appa.” (“I’m here, father. I’m with the people who love you and grandpa more than their lives.”)

You can watch the clip from 3:42:52 in the above video.

Unfortunately for Nikhil, the embarrassing moment from three years ago has come back to haunt him as he makes another debut – this time, in politics. The JD(S)’s Mandya candidate is the running gag in Karnataka this election season, with critics and everyday trolls alike jumping on the ‘Nikhil Yellidyappa?’ joke.

Someone seems to have had some fun adding ‘Nikhil Yellidyappa’ as a location on Google Maps. One Twitter user tweeted what looks like a screen recording of the ‘location’. The location doesn’t exist on maps right now, however.

In an attempt at comedy, meanwhile, a BJP supporter in what could be a foreign location stages a white man crossing the road, and explaining how ‘NY’ stands for ‘Nikhil Yelllidyappa’, instead of ‘New York’.

Nikhil also made it to an RCB fan’s poster.


@pavan_jd #nkm #nammakarnatakamemes #nikhilyellidiyappa #rcb

A post shared by ನಮ್ಮ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಮಿಮ್ಸ್ (@nammakarnatakamemes) on

Translation: "Where are you Nikhil? I am in between the people who believe Ee sala cup namde!"

One meme maker meanwhile decided to answer the ‘Nikhil Yellidyappa?’ question with a dig on dynastic politics.


A post shared by Troll Goggayya (@troll_goggayya) on

Several other memes and jokes however are vulgar and problematic, some even communal. One Yakshagana skit in Dakshina Kannada in March was Islamophobic in its parody of the moment.

The videos and memes have also caught the eye of filmmakers who are lining up to register films by the name 'Nikhil Yellidyappa'.  Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) however is holding off on accepting the applications until the elections are over. “This is mostly from not-so-well-known filmmakers looking to cash in on the craze created around the phrase. We are not accepting any requests currently. Later the title committee will take a call if they want to give permission for a film with this title," Harish, KFCC secretary told The New Indian Express.

The trend comes in the midst of a high-voltage campaign by Nikhil in the Mandya constituency against actor Sumalatha Ambareesh. He has also set up a social media team in Mandya to counter the negative publicity on Facebook and WhatsApp.

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