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Interview | Social media sensation Kili Paul on his Bollywood connect and walking 2 hours daily to charge his phone

Tanzanian brother-sister duo Kili and Neema Paul shot to fame here after lip-syncing to the song Raataan Lambiyan from 'Shershaah'. Now they have a Bollywood song deal on the horizon.

December 05, 2021 / 05:31 PM IST
Kili Paul says he grew up watching a lot of Bollywood movies. Especially films starring Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Jackie Shroff, and Hrithik Roshan.

Kili Paul says he grew up watching a lot of Bollywood movies. Especially films starring Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Jackie Shroff, and Hrithik Roshan.


Life for Tanzanian siblings Kili Paul and Neema changed after a video of them lip-synching to Raatan Lambiyan from Shershaah went viral on Instagram.

That one song garnered over one million views (and still counting) in just five days. The video was reposted by Shershaah stars Kiara Advani and Sidharth Malhotra, as well as singer Jubin Nautiyal (who sang the original) and composer Tanishk Bagchi.

Since then the duo has been inundated with messages from not just admiring Indians but also people all over world requesting for their songs.

In an interview, Kili gave us a peak into his life as a Masai and his dreams of meeting Bollywood stars. Edited excerpts.

Hi Kili… you are killing it with your groovy videos

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Thank you. I love singing and dancing and never imagined in my wildest dreams that I will be one day lip-syncing to Bollywood songs. Jubin Nautiyal is my most favourite artist. 

Why Bollywood?

I grew up watching a lot of Bollywood movies. Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn, Jackie Shroff, Hrithik Roshan.... Growing up, Sunny Deol was my hero. I mostly watched action films but also loved romantic films of Hrithik Roshan. I watched Shah Rukh Khan’s Main Hoon Na multiple times. It really touched my heart. Even my earrings right now look like the one he wore in Koyla (laughs). If I ever come to India, I would love to meet my superstars Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Jackie Shroff…  

All those Bollywood nights seem to have helped a lot for your videos

Yes, I also watch the songs multiple times on YouTube to see how the actors emote. Then I Google every word to understand the right way to pronounce it and so does my sister. It was a bit difficult in the beginning, but I understand every word of the song and feel the music. It takes roughly one to two days to get a song right and record the video.

That’s quick

I am very good at picking up languages. Apart from English and my local languages, I can also speak French and Spanish. I want to learn Hindi now.  

What does your Instagram DM look like? I am curious

It’s mostly people complimenting me for my videos. They tell me how much they enjoy watching it. Most people actually request for songs. Some even invite us to India. I have never seen such kind of love. I even got verified on Instagram because of all the love from India. 

How are people treating you in your village? Are you a celebrity there?

Not really. I am the same Kili for them. Not many people have Internet here. So they don’t know about social media stuff. Some of them who have smartphone do see my videos. They are happy for me. Some local media has also interviewed me. The only change is that I now get some money through promotions.

I believe you are already in talks with Bollywood for singing an original song

Yes, it will be a song for composer Tanishk Bagchi. I am really excited.

What are your other hobbies?

I want to look good so I want to go to the gym so bad. I want to build a good body. But there are no gyms here.

So what do you do?

I watch the cows. I walk for miles in the bush with them, from morning to evening. Even charging my phone requires me to walk for two hours to the nearest village every day. Now that I have some fame, sometimes people offer me a ride on their motorbike. But the best cardio for me is dancing. I put a lot of energy in my moves, sweat a lot. I play a little bit of football too.  

In your videos you are always dressed traditionally

That’s our traditional Masai clothing. I have worn it all my life along with my knife and stick. We Masai people never leave without our knife and stick. We are always in the bush with wild animals. We need the knife to protect ourselves. 

What about the future?

I will be doing a lot of Indian content, not just Hindi but also Tamil, Telugu and other languages. Right now I am training for a Bhangra dance challenge. Then I will be doing movie dialogues and even comedy... I have just about started.
Nivedita Jayaram Pawar is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist, who writes on food, art, design, travel and lifestyle.

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