The video showing Geela Anil Kumar (24) and Pilli Thirupathi (28) dancing with gay abandon as they plough a rice field with bullocks has attracted more than 16 million views. Not only that, comedian and Daily Show host Trevor Noah has posted the video on his Instagram page, declaring them winners of the keke (or ‘kiki’ depending on who you ask) challenge. It has also been posted by Bollywood celebrities like Vivek Oberoi.
Geela Anil’s old parents, Nirmala and Malleshan, who work as farm labourers, are quite surprised by how their son’s stardom has gone beyond Lambadipally village. “They’ve never used the internet and have no clue about social media. It took some time explaining to them how we were suddenly so popular and why they were getting that many calls from friends and relatives,” says Anil, who farms, teaches and acts in videos about village life.
Srikanth who wielded the camera with Anil Geela
Another cute turn to this charming tale is Thirupathi naming his newborn son Keke. “My little boy turned 21 days today, when the video went viral. So we’ve started calling him Keke,” says Thirupathi.
The video, shot on August 1, was uploaded by movie director Sriram Srikanth on his local YouTube channel “My Village Show”. He says got interested in the challenge when he saw a message from police not to indulge in it since it involved dancing alongside a moving vehicle. “So I went online and was amazed at the number of people dancing to Drake’s song. I’d never heard that song or that artist before. But we loved it,” he says.
He discussed the idea with Anil and Thirupathi. “We wanted to do something safe and yet fun,” says Srikanth. Despite the duo practising some of the steps prior to the video shooting, some of the best moments in the video occur unscripted. “We were shooting, and the guys were dancing, when suddenly the bullocks stopped. Anil, without missing a beat, went on to prod them to continue and danced like never before. We got lucky I guess,” says Srikanth.
How did they decide on bullocks as props for the video? “Well, ours is a small village where farming is the main occupation. Seemed ideal,” chuckles Srikanth.
Local TV channels and a few producers have expressed interest online in hiring the two talented youngsters.