Prajakta Koli popularly known as MostlySane made her acting debut with the short film Khayali Pulao on her Youtube channel.
We have seen Prajakta evolve and rule the Internet with her wit and relatable comic skits. And now she has set her foot in the world of films. Produced by One Digital Entertainment Prajakta’s debut film is written and directed by Tarun Dudeja.
Film and theatre actor Yashpal Sharma plays the lead male protagonist of the film portraying the role of a sports teacher.
The film got released yesterday evening and has been garnering love and appreciation on the internet ever since.
Set in a small village of Haryana – Majri, Khayali Pulao is a story of a 17-year-old school topper girl Asha, who suddenly decides to play handball in the upcoming inter-school match on the occasion of Republic Day. This decision of her surprises everyone in the village and they ask her to drop out since she is not a cut out for sports.
The film travels from Asha struggling to learn handball to breaking stereotypes associated with women
The conversation where her mother asks, why does she want to become Superman and she replies “Superman nhe Wonder Woman” is the first high moment, and unveils the urge to fly high and shatter the boundaries she is in. With grassroot level girl empowerment forming the crux of the narrative, the film subjectively touches upon themes like the inevitability of freedom of choice, the banishment of archaic prejudices and importance of street hustle.
The last scene of Koli changing into the uniform and wearing shorts for the first time in life is the perfect closure for the film. The freedom to wear shorts had become the mission of her life. The film subtly hints the free spirit of Asha on several occasions, and the character is free even when she is the extra player of the team.
Youtuber turned actor Prajakta Koli states, “Growing up and then through my everyday interactions I noticed how prejudiced we are as a society when it comes to girls and women in general. With this film, it’s my small contribution to the society at large to facilitate change at whatever level I can and influence mindsets positively. It’s amazing to essay this young girl who knows her dream is too scandalous for the dwelling she is raised in but her forward-thinking temperament to rectify a generalized mindset has enabled her to become resilient and determined. The film is a beautiful reminder of how dreams, especially in small towns, are often realised through sports. It’s also a reminder of how precious the freedom to live your life the way you want to is, how even the seemingly simple act of being able to wear shorts becomes a complicated mission for a young girl. The act of being a sportsperson is her excuse to live as a free woman who isn’t defined by the opinion of others, and confidently dresses up in shorts baring her legs in a society that expects her to cover up.”
Commenting on the story Tarun Dudeja, Director states, “Khayali Pulao is a common hindi phrase which loosely translates to ‘Flights of Fancy’. Usually building castles in the air tends to serve as an escape from the reality, which almost everyone engages in from time to time. In addition, the frequency of such indulgences increases furthermore when the oppression, discrimination and abuse are although more apparent. Being born and brought up in one of the towns in Haryana, India where patriarchy is the accepted norm and tradition is associated with the women staying behind the veil, I would come across by subtle acts of resistance to oppression every now and then. In the conservative society women just seize at whatever semblance of freedom could be contained within the constraints of the society but mostly it is aimed at freedom. Be it freedom to express themselves, or choose their partner, or wear the clothes of their choice. For these women, these little acts make their lives more bearable in an intolerant institution. They fight in their quiet ways and refuse to become victims of the circumstances. Their spirits remain uncrushed and they win a certain degree of independence for themselves. The film honors such women and is a tribute to them”.
Talking about Prajakta’s journey, Gurpreet Singh, Founder, One Digital Entertainment states, “Prajakta’s dedication and commitment to her work is something that amazes me. She is someone who is immensely passionate about her work and likes to immerse herself completely in whatever project she takes on. From spending a couple of days prior to the shoot in the village, to understand the mannerism of an average teenage girl from the rural areas of North India to taking diction lessons, her preparation for the role has been astounding and it shows on screen as well. She is known for her comedic sketches however this film will shed a whole different side of Prajakta that not many have seen previously”.
Well known casting director Mukesh Chhabra, who also marks his directorial debut with late Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film Dil Bechara, states, “This film is a very sweet take on women’s empowerment at a very basic level. Things that we take for granted can also be a challenge for many people, which it is in most rural places in India. The honesty of the film’s messaging is what attracted me to it. I have always admired Prajakta’s content and like her approach to creating content and the various things she does to bring about positive change in the society. The way she portrays her characters through her sketches, they always manage to bring a smile on my face”.