What's Prajakta Koli like offline?

Bollywood stars use YouTuber Prajakta Koli’s popularity to advertise their upcoming films .

Ever since she could remember, Prajakta Koli always had one career goal in mind — become a radio jockey. She went on to become one but according to her, she “sucked so bad”.

It was the time YouTube was emerging as a major platform in the country, so she decided to give that a try.

So, in 2015, when she started the channel ‘MostlySane’, she was taking a huge risk.

“I have my parents to thank for that. When I told them that I wanted to do YouTube and that I wasn’t sure how much I would earn, or if I would even earn anything, they gave me the assurance that I can go ahead with it as long as it makes me happy,” Prajakta tells Showtime.

Over the years, she has gained 44 lakh subscribers with her observational comedy sketches. The channel grew so popular that the biggest Bollywood stars are leveraging on her popularity to promote their movies.

Prajakta has collaborated with actors such as Hrithik Roshan, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Farhan Akhtar, Ayushmann Khurrana and Nawazuddin Siddique, to name a few.

“Even when I get a chance to work with celebrities, I do sketches or ask questions that I have always wanted to ask them. One of my recent videos was with Russell Peters and I’ve always been a great fan. I was happy to chat with him and to learn how he processes content,” she says.

She has also collaborated with other YouTubers like Lilly Singh, Collin Key, Bhuvan Bam and BeYou Nick.

 In May 2018, Prajakta became the Indian Ambassador for YouTube’s global initiative ‘Creators For Change’. She was invited to the United Nations as part of their International Day of Tolerance, where she represented India.

“I made a music video called ‘No Offence’ for the YouTube Creators For Change Project and I guess YouTube really liked it. The whole experience was such an honour. And you know what? Even after living in India all my life, the first time I touched a legit Indian flag was at the UN,” she says.

Somehow, every time she travels abroad for work, she wears an Indian outfit. When asked if this was a conscious choice, she says, “I’m very fond of wearing saris, salwar suits and kurtas, especially when travelling abroad. It’s a different thrill and you know it’s going to be an outfit no one else is going to wear. And honestly, I love the attention!”

How it all began

It wasn’t always a bed of roses for Prajakta and her YouTube journey. She had no plan, godfather or idea about the content she wanted to put out. Her very first video was called ‘Types of Singles on Valentine’s Day’.

“When I put out that video, I was just so clueless. And I think I am still finding my feet with content as we speak.”

Her work is mostly observational comedy. She has created the characters Archana, Manoj and Montu — the fictional mother, father and younger brother to her fictional alter ego, all of whom she plays herself.

“I can switch into these characters depending on the wig I wear,” she laughs. “It’s just my madness coming through and all the character I do are inspired by the people I’ve met.”

Prajakta did a lot of theatre growing up and enjoyed dancing. So she was never camera-shy. In fact, when her career as a radio jockey tanked, she consoled herself saying, “I’m more of a visually appealing person and that’s why my radio career went down.”

The first time it occurred to her that her video was being appreciated by viewers was when a fan approached her at Starbucks. Prajakta recalls, “I was having coffee when a viewer walked up to me and said she watches my videos. My reaction was ‘what?’. And then she told me that she’s a huge fan and wanted a selfie with me. It was such an overwhelming moment.”

Digital drama

Prajakta creates YouTube videos every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. She also creates content for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. “There are some things that work only on YouTube and others only on Instagram. I have a fair idea of that and I work accordingly. But then again, the digital world is so unpredictable. It’s almost always a trial and error situation,” she explains.

Having said that, if there’s one thing she could put an end to, she says it would be reaction videos. “I think they are just awful. There are reaction videos to my videos too and they are just so bad. We should have less of those.”

And for someone who needs to be online all the time, she makes sure she detoxes regularly. After she wakes up in the mornings, she prefers to sit with a book and a cup of hot tea instead of being on her phone. She adds, “It’s important to respect the privacy of the people around me. They wouldn’t want to be as digitally present as I am and I respect that.”

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