The Sane-sational Prajakta Koli
Man's World|February 2021
In the vast sea of Indian content creators, Prajakta Koli has managed to cut through the clutter, and emerge as the single-most marketable influencer in the country
Mayukh Majumdar

Even though Prajakta Koli has been on everyone's radar for over three years now, November 2020 marked the first time that the YouTuber was promoting something. Usually, Koli's legions of fans know when to expect her next video, and on the rare occasion they forget, she can always put out an insta story. Dressed in a frilly white top, Koli arrives at our Zoom interview about 15 minutes late, and apologises profusely. COVID-19 may have changed the globe irrevocably, but it hasn't managed to put a dent in Mumbai's traffic situation. When Koli launched her YouTube channel in February 2015, influencer culture was in its nascent stage. YouTube, Instagram, and Bollywood were three separate platforms.

When I started making YouTube videos, I did not think that this (shifting to films) was a way to go. Five years ago, if you asked me kya karna hai life mein, I would say bas mujhe 30,000 subscribers mil jayenge, mai khush ho jaoongi. Nobody had predicted that the internet would suddenly blow up, and that industries would start merging, and the lines would get blurry, she says.

Much like her character in the Netflix original series, Mismatched, Koli had it all figured out from a young age. She wanted to be an RJ and began her career at Fever 104 FM as an intern. It was a nightmare. Not only was Koli not allowed to eat lunch at the same table with the employees, her 14-hour shifts felt oppressive, and she shed around 11 kilos due to the excessive workload. In short, Koli was sinking, and who should turn up as a lifeguard other than Sudeep Lahiri from One Digital Entertainment, and Bollywood's gift to the world, Hrithik Roshan?

Roshan had come to the studio and despite warnings from her seniors, Koli went ahead and shot a video with him for her Instagram page. Lahiri happened to notice the entire exchange, and realized that she had fun energy. There's no and that's when her life suddenly changed moment here. While Lahiri had recommended that Koli try making YouTube videos, she was hesitant. However, he finally convinced her to meet him, and discuss the various possibilities of YouTube.

I remember coming out of the old One Digital office and calling my mom, saying ‘I think it was an interview and I think I made it’. She asked ‘what are you now?’ and I said ‘now I'm a YouTuber’,” Koli says, giggling.

A huge part of Koli's success goes to her parents who've been extremely supportive of her career. They have an entire wall in their home dedicated to fan art.

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