Another 'Kiki Challenge' Video From India Earns 2 Million Views — And 3 Arrests
Earlier this week, we reported on the video from India that, according to Trevor Noah, "won" the Kiki Challenge. It was 39 seconds of two farmers dancing in the mud with their oxen.
Now there's another Kiki challenge video making headlines in India — but also raising concerns from the police.
It was made by three men in their 20s from Mumbai: Shyam Sharma, a television actor, and his friends Dhruv Shah and Nishant Shah, who run a YouTube channel. Like many people around the world, they responded to the Instagram comic Shiggy, who asked his followers to dance to the lyrics of the Drake song "In My Feelings," which is addressed to a woman named Kiki.
On August 3, they uploaded their video on Funcho Entertainment, their YouTube channel. Their intention, they wrote in the descriptor for the video, was to show how people from the different states of India would attempt the Kiki challenge.
They say they were trying to poke fun at local stereotypes — although some might say they went too far.
In the first scene, one of them gives his phone to a fellow on a train so he can film him dancing on the station platform. But the guy ends up pocketing the phone. Later in the video, a dead body on a stretcher momentarily comes to life to do the jig. And a policeman uses his stick to beat a young man who attempts the Kiki challenge in the middle of the road, but the young man convinces him that he's looking for a lost "key" and is not really doing the challenge.
The video makers also translate the song into Gujarati, an Indian language, and mimic a local dance.
So you can debate the merits of their video. But you can't deny its popularity — over 2.4 million views so far.
The blaze of publicity attracted some unexpected interest. On August 7, the Railway Protection Force, a police force stationed in railways, arrested the three Kiki challengers.
It's not the first time the police of India have been upset by interpretations of the Kiki challenge. Across the country, they've been increasingly alarmed with the stunts of people jumping out of cars and buses in their "Kiki" videos (inspired by the line in the song, "Are you riding?").
On July 26, the Mumbai police tweeted:
Not just a risk for you but your act can put life of others at risk too. Desist from public nuisance or face the music ! #DanceYourWayToSafety #InMySafetyFeelingsChallenge pic.twitter.com/gY2txdcxWZ— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) July 26, 2018
They issued a similar warning on August 4:
We love your safety and can’t leave it to be decided by Kiki! #GetInToTheCar #kikiChallenge #InMySafetyFeelings pic.twitter.com/OqOgmPgJA6— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) August 2, 2018
So the police decided to make an example of this Kiki trio, charging them with endangering the safety of passengers in the train station and being a public nuisance. The charges carry a jail sentence of up to a year and a fine of 500 rupees ($7). But instead of putting them behind bars, the court, on August 8, ordered the young men to clean the platforms of a railway station for three days, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
According to reports, the three apologized and promised not to try such stunts again.
And on Twitter, people were deeply amused by the verdict.
I like this -#KikiChallenge undertaken by 3 Mumbai youth on local trains has resulted in Mumbai Vasai court sentencing them to clean the station for three days!— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) August 10, 2018
We need more such exemplary & unique punishments pic.twitter.com/6MPyZCL4C8
Kamala Thiagarajan is a freelance journalist based in Madurai, India. Her work has appeared in The International New York Times, BBC Travel and Forbes India. You can follow her @kamal_t.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.