Age is just a number for Milkuri Gangavva, a 57-year-old woman from Lambadipally village in Karimnagar district. From ploughing the paddy fields to becoming a household name, Gangavva has come a long way, thanks to My Village Show, a YouTube channel started in 2012 by 28-year-old Srikanth Sriram.
The show even hit international headlines last year for doing #KikiChallenge innovatively as they plough a field with bullocks.
Life before ‘My Village Show’
Draped in sari, talking in a satirical and humorous way, Gangavva is virtually a celeb today. But not many people know how Gangavva’s life was before getting into the entertainment field. If truth to be told, it was never easy. It was full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and love and loss. Gangavva’s parents passed away when she was very young. Her grandparents got her married at the age of five and by the time she turned 26, she gave birth to four children – three daughters and a son. Her daughter passed away unfortunately.
“Before all I knew was working hard in the farms, ploughing, cutting grass, and looking after my family. At one point, I even started doing coolie work and rolling beedis for decent earning,” she says.
In 2012, when M Tech graduate Srikanth Sriram returned to Lambadipally, he sought to change people’s perception of village life. He believed YouTube would be the perfect way to do that and launched a YouTube channel called ‘Mel Kulupu’. In 2015, he changed the name to My Village Show.
“I got interested in filmmaking during my BTech days. I didn’t want to get into film industry and work under someone. To me, it was time-consuming and vain. Since I grew up observing the village atmosphere, I wanted to generate awareness on common issues that villagers face every day through hysterical videos,” says Sriram.
Currently, My Village Show team includes eight members. When asked why he wanted Gangavva to act in his videos, Sriram says, “I knew Gangavva before the series started. She even appeared in a few of our videos in the beginning, but was not given much screen space. Eventually, the videos with Gangavva’s presence started gaining a decent number of views, which hints that people are attracted to her natural acting and quick-wittedness. Then Gangavva started appearing regularly in our videos at length.”
The channel’s first video that went viral was ‘Village Internet Problems’ in 2017. The video so far received 2.4 million views.
Gangavva’s entry into Tollywood
Following the immense popularity on the internet, Gangavva has been receiving offers from some of the top Telugu film directors. She has acted in various films like iSmart Shankar and Mallesham. Her interview with Oh! Baby’s movie cast Samantha Akkineni and director Nandini Reddy was very popular on social media.
When asked if she ever felt nervous interviewing celebrities, she bluntly says, “There’s no question of fear at all. I can have more conversations with them, but due to lack of proper education and language barriers, I’m unable to do it.”
Gold play button
The Village Show channel recently received a gold play button from YouTube for crossing a million subscribers. “Right now I’m on top of the world. It is an encouragement to our team. Now we have more responsibility for entertaining our viewers,” Gangavva signs off.