EXCLUSIVE chat with Kili Paul and Neema, the viral duo from Tanzania: Be ready India, we are coming
After their lip-synced version of Raatan Lambiyan from Shershaah went viral and won hearts, Tanzanian siblings Kili Paul and Neema hope to explore Hindi film music more
Kili Paul and Neema, a Tanzanian sibling duo, have been winning hearts and generating buss in India since their video of lip-synching Raatan Lambiyan from Shershaah went viral on Instagram. That one song has over one million views (and still counting) in just five days.
“We’re mind blown and very happy. Everyone is sending me messages, my DM is full. India’s love is so pure, I don’t know how to explain it,” says an overwhelmed Kili over a video call.
His sister Neema, not comfortable in English, chimes in and says, “The experience was very nice, we enjoyed it. The song is very good.”
Kili, a popular TikTok star with over 1.5 million followers, saw his Instagram following jump from 95k to 135k sharing this video, which was reposted by Shershaah stars Kiara Advani and Shershaah, as well as singer Jubin Nautiyal (who sang the original) and composer Tanishk Bagchi.
He tells us, “Indians are amazing in how they’ve supported us. They don’t fake or pass any judgements or care where you are from; they just show love. Now that I’ve seen where my audience are, where real people and real love are, I’ll bring the best of myself for them. I’ll invest more in India. I’ll try to catch up dance trends, lip-sync songs, (do) comedy. Be ready India, we’re coming. Big things are on the way.”
On how did he discover Bollywood, Kili reveals that he grew up watching a lot of Hindi films. “I’ve never been to India, but in my imagination, I’ve been there for a long time. I was there when Mumbai used to be Bombay. I was there when Sanjay Dutt and Akshay Kumar were trending and doing a lot of mind-blowing films. They always bring me back old memories,” he says, adding Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan and Tiger Shroff are his favourite Indian actors because he loves “watching action films”, while his sister Neema is a Madhuri (Dixit nene) ma’am fan.
While Kili ad been making TikTok videos of Bollywood songs, he wasn’t sure if they would ever reach an Indian audience due to the app’s ban in India. “But I didn’t stop making those videos. We love Jubin Nautiyal and there’s a fan page we follow. They suggested this song to me. While doing it, I realised there’s a part where a girl sings, so I showed the video to Neema, and she practised it over and over until she got the lyrics. I recorded my part first, and when I posted the second part with her, boom, it went viral. We tagged Jubin and other stars and now it’s everywhere,” he exclaims.
Ask Kili how he and Neema manage to so accurately lip-sync Bollywood songs given Hindi is not their language, he shares the entire process. “When I like a song, I go on Youtube, I learn the lyrics first and then I go to google to see how they pronounce every word, because I don’t want to miss any. Then I try to find English meaning of the song. If it’s a love song, then I add my own expressions because love is love everywhere. So yeah, I check the meaning of every part and then I record.”
After Raatan Lambiyan’s video went viral, Kili posted a video of another popular song, Shah Rukh Khan’s Zaalima from Raees (2017). Was it a fan suggestion too, we ask?
“No, that one was my own idea,” he says and adds, “This one, I had recorded three-four months back but it didn’t go viral or get any attention. When Raatan Lambiyan blew up, I said, ‘Okay, now I have Indians watching this, I can put this out and show them’. So, I posted it and now it’s going viral, too. Everyone is liking it and sharing it.”
So what’s next? “The next one is Kusu Kusu (from Satyameva Jayate 2). Neema is learning to do that; she’ll sing the Nora Fatehi part only in the front and I’ll be at the back doing some dance moves,” concludes Kili with a “namaste and Jai India”.