Kartikeya made his debut with Prematho Mee Karthik (2017), but became noted with RX 100 (2018) directed by Ajay Bhupathi under the banner Kartikeya Creative Works. The film was a commercial success which earned him recognition. In the consecutive year, he appeared in films such as Hippi, Guna 369, Nani's Gang Leader and 90ML, with all four releasing in 2019.  Kartikeya worked out in order to achieve authenticity in the role of a kickboxer for Hippi..Guna 369 is about a real incident that took place in Ongole. In a review of the film by The Times of India, the reviewer wrote that "Karthikeya does his best to pour life into the titular character". Kartikeya made his first appearance as a villain opposite Nani in Gang Leader. Kartikeya landed the role after the film's director Vikram Kumar liked his acting in RX 100, and he received positive reviews for his portrayal of Dev..Despite enjoying the craze, his intent to evolve as a performer was clearly seen in his Antagonist role from Nani’s Gang Leader. Post the success of it, he's signed to play an interesting lead role in 90ML. In a review of the film by The Times of India, the reviewer wrote that "Kartikeya gets a role that requires him to dance like a dream and fight like a pro for the most part and he aces it completely".