Prajakta Koli films, vlogs and comedy: what is she better at? Here’s looking at the evolution of this desi funnywoman who will soon make her big-screen debut.
At first, only those on YouTube knew her. Then came those who followed her on Instagram. And now, everyone everywhere knows Prajakta Koli. The comedian, whose early acting oeuvre has already cemented a place in the audience’s imagination with Khayali Pulao and Mismatched, is now all set to star alongside eminent cinema veterans like Neetu Kapoor and Anil Kapoor in the upcoming romance Jug Jugg Jiyo, her first big-screen venture.
Koli has long been a recognisable face for the youth that has seen her grow from a YouTube vlogger to a 6.1 million-strong YouTube content creator and even beyond on other social media platforms. What perhaps has sustained her in this ever-evolving, ever-cutthroat world of online content is that Koli is more than just a funnywoman. From self-love to endless ambition, she is an advocate today of all that is important for living. All that you, me, everyone needs to hear sometimes.
So is Koli a better actor than a comedian? Did she peak as a vlogger or we have not even seen the full extent of her potential yet? To understand what Prajakta Koli does better, we have to first unpack what all she does and how did she end up doing it.
Skyrocketing To Fame
She initially wanted to become a radio jockey – and did – but soon quit her job after a failure and the realisation that the world was her oyster with bigger avenues were waiting to be explored. After encouragement from industry seniors, she launched her YouTube channel in February 2015. By June, she had gone viral. It seemed her video 10 hilarious words that Delhi people use was what truly defined ‘relatable’ content for people regardless of geography, despite the title.
Vlogs at the time were straddling complex spaces amidst fears of being outworn in the face of more organised, scripted forms of content. Koli didn’t just dip but plunged her fingers into experimental content so that there was something for everyone – travel diaries, personal stories, vibrant characters. A disciplined timetable of uploading videos every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday grew her fanbase.
She has since gone on to collaborate with the most distinguished names in the entertainment community including but not limited to Bhuvan Bam, Ashish Chanchchlani, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Vicky Kaushal. Her YouTube Originals show Pretty Fit has also featured notable stars like Neha Kakkar and Sanya Malhotra.
Watch Prajakta Koli at SheThePeople’s Bombaywaali summit here:
Last year in July, Koli made her acting debut with the short Khayali Pulao, which followed the journey of a young girl named Asha struggling to fulfil her dream of getting into the school’s handball team. Her next acting stint, much bigger, brought her to our Netflix screens as tech wizard Dimple in the series Mismatched. Though the series received mixed reviews, Koli’s performance consolidated her position as an actor to watch out for. Read the full review for Mismatched.
Prajakta Koli: A Youth Icon In More Ways Than One
Koli hasn’t been short on recognition for her achievements. In February 2019, she was part of Forbes’ list of 30 under 30 as well as Entrepreneur India’s list of 35 under 35. In the same year, she was featured in Outlook Business Magazine’s list of Women of Worth. In 2020, Koli was featured on the cover of the magazine BW Businessworld as part of their Most Influential Women’s list.
But Koli isn’t just an overachieving happy-go-lucky internet personality, even though that’s what many netizens may know her as. Her maturity as an artist mirrors real life where she has added weight to the conversation around many social issues with involvement in projects more contemplative than travel vlogs.
In 2016, she launched a campaign #iPledgeToBeMe which addressed issues of mental health and body shaming. Two years later, she participated in the #GirlsCount campaign which impressed upon the importance of girl child education and in YouTube’s Creators for Change program. Her music video No Offence went on to be screened at United Nations as part of the International Day of Tolerance where Koli represented India.
Prajakta Koli for the young masses stuck in jobs that don’t give, living messy lives, lost in the world is a personification of ‘no dream too big.’ So it is not about what Koli can do better, but all can she do. Even if her line of profession may not be a common aspiration for all, her journey is telling of a headway that everyone hopes to make in life. And we can. With a little MostlySane within us, we can.
Views expressed are the author’s own.