Most immigrants in Bengaluru simply be taught two phrases – Kannada gothilla: Kirik Keerthi

He’s a popular social commentator online and his stint on Bigg Boss made him a household name. recently dropped by at the office for a chat. Excerpts… On getting the ‘kirik’ tag
This tag is not because of the kirik (mischief) I do in life. In 2012, when I was an RJ, all of them used to have a prefix to their names. This was when they decided that the word kirik works well with my name. The show I did was such where I’d call people and prank them. Then, when I moved to a news channel, they asked me to retain that prankster image and do a show titled Mr Kirik. Following this, I then had a show called Kirik With Keerthi. Once I quit media, I started a page with the Kirik Keerthi name and that’s how it began. The kirik is not because of anything else; the kirik I do is only for good things and causes. For instance, when I am at a pub and I hear the DJ play mostly English numbers, I go and ask him to play Kannada songs. I won’t force him to play Kannada music always, but I will ask him to play Kannada songs as well. If you play a few Bollywood and English songs, why not one Kannada track at frequent intervals?
An English literature student…
I always had my way with words, especially Kannada. If you look at my SSLC marks sheet, I had scored 109 out of 125. A little known fact is that I have done my degree in English literature. Till date, I don’t know how I managed to pass that (laughs). I ended up choosing English literature, because my college didn’t have a journalism couse with Kannada combination.
On deciding to start a YouTube channel…
I had worked in the television industry for a while. But there are many restrictions there, which could be related to the management or even the content. There’s also the factor to consider. After working in the television industry for 10 years, I decided I had to set out on my own. I realised no one here was using social media well for Kannada content. Other languages had people doing it and had millions of subscribers. I wondered what was stopping people from doing the same in Kannada. This was when I decided that I will begin a page and put content that I wished to see and showcase, without bothering about what the subscription would be like. My first first video went viral and I was shocked because I got the video as a forward many times. I touched upon topics like power cuts and then questioned people why they wouldn’t vote at the BBMP elections to ensure they get the leaders they wanted. I soon got requests from people to talk about topics. I also decided to unearth topics that were traditionally considered taboo, and there was an impact too. For instance, there was no Kannada option in ATMs when they had other regional Indian languages. When I posted a video about the same, I had a bank reply to me on the topic, saying they would set it right. We also decided to put social media to good use, by getting help in times of need — like in the times of the Chennai floods or the droughts that hit parts of north .
I’m glad that Kannada content has grown online. I’m happy that there are people like , All.OK and who are creating good content in Kannada and creating a global demand and fanbase for the same. The going was tough initially, but I am glad to see where we have reached today.
The Kannada activist tag…
I have always maintained that I am not a Kannada activist. I request people to remove that tag when I‘m called for programmes. Since I call Kannada my mother tongue, I have that love towards my language like I do to my mother. I respect the language like it’s my duty.
I have never maintained that one must use Kannada words always. I am not the person who says talk only Kannada, I have requested people to talk Kannada too. I know six languages myself, and I don’t subscribe to extreme fanaticism. In a metropolitan city like Bengaluru, I only ask for one thing — people learn Tamil in three months in Chennai, Telugu in three months in Hyderabad and Hindi in three months in Delhi, so why not the same with Kannada. They only learn two words — Kannada gothilla (I don’t know Kannada). This is what hurts me the most.
All.OK and Chandan Shetty…
I don’t know what transpired for that misunderstanding. But what I know for sure is that both of them are looking at taking Kannada content to the next level. Both of them are talented. This is one of the reasons behind me planning Havali, an event this month end, which will see the two of them and me on stage for the first time. We will have Kannada rap, hip hop and standup on one stage.
Acting career…
I have a few films lined up. One of them sees me along with . Then there is Dhoomra, a film that sees me play the role of a drug addict. There are around four films lined up. I am not playing a hero as such, I take up roles that suit my personality. I will go with the flow and see how people accept me. I always have TV to fall back on and I have a few talks going on currently.

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