A chat with emerging YouTube sensation Prajakta Koli

YouTube sensation Prajakta Koli talks of keeping things less than sane on her channel and the art of inducing a laugh

Twenty-two-year-old Prajakta Koli is Mostly Sane, if her YouTube channel is anything to go by. But, if one had to tune to her vlog on the popular video-sharing site, the discrepancy is more than just evident.

Prajakta Koli's YouTube channel has crossed over 70,000 followers, since it launched last February

A chirpy and clownish Koli talks to you with unabashed confidence about things and people, who probably never tickled your funny bone. Imagine the weird men you dated, or those women who quarrel in the compartment of your local train, or your annoying boss — Koli’s funny and crazy observations about them, more often than not, will make you laugh.

Having won over 70,000 followers within just a year since starting her channel, the Thane girl has become the new comic talent in town. "But I am not a comedian," Koli insists. "Comedy is very tough, and I can't do it at all."

What makes Koli’s videos worth a watch, is her ability to see humour in the mundane. While she might come across as just another perky young girl with an uncanny knack for wit, nothing of what she says is imaginary. "Most of us choose not to see the funny side of things," says Koli.

When Koli started her channel last February, there was a lot that wasn’t going for her. "Ever since I was young, I wanted to become an RJ. But when I finally landed a job with a radio station, I realised how miserable I was at it," she says.

Things changed when she Instagrammed a series of videos with Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan, who had come to the radio station to promote his film. In one of videos, Koli and Roshan are seen having a bizarre conversation, which begins with her saying, "Oh My God!" and the superstar repeating it.

Koli describes the videos as stupid, but Sudeep Lahiri of One Digital Entertainment thought they were brilliant, and contacted Koli asking her to start her own channel on YouTube. "My parents were reluctant…so I asked them to give me a year to prove myself," she recalls.

Koli didn’t have to wait that long. She nailed it with her first upload. The five-minute monologue, where she rambles about the ‘types of singles on Valentine’s Day’ — like the narcissists who gift themselves teddy bears to feel loved — won her over 1,000 views within minutes of being uploaded. Within a month, she was glad to see the back of the radio station, and make the switch to vlogging. Today, her videos get an average viewership of one lakh.

"All my content is observational and I try to keep it real and clean, so that everyone enjoys it," she says, adding that she wants to cater to both the youth and the elderly.

Koli scripts her own content and then shoots them at her home. She gets help from two of her close girlfriends, who assist her with the camera and editing.

The challenge is to keep the channel running. "Once every few months, I have a week where I just can’t think. Sometimes, the pressure to live up to the expectations of your followers can be hard," she says.

Despite those stray moments of self-doubt, Koli has created nearly 100 videos till date, and has no plans to move away from her comfort zone. "YouTube is a lovely space to be in," she says. "There are lovers and haters. One of my trolls once told me that I don’t deserve to live and it did affect me, but I take it all in my stride."

As we end the chat, she asks us to rate her interview. "On the scale of one to 10, how funny do you think I was?" Before she hears the answer, she breaks into a laugh. "Just kidding," she adds.

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