Youtube has provided an inexpensive and valuable platform for organic talent to flourish, especially because it is a space that is more or less run by the content. One of the talents that became a household name with her charming smile and relatable content. Khayali Pulao is another feather in her cap, as she exhibits her talents with an incredible flourish.
The 26 minute short film rides entirely on the back of the protagonist, and she has undoubtedly pulled it off. The plot revolves around a small town girl with big dreams, hence the title. The Big Dreams may seem frivolous at first glance, but you need to see it within the context of the short film and the protagonist’s reality. Being from a small and intensely patriarchal village in Haryana, where girls having facebook accounts and wearing jeans is nothing short of blasphemy, this girl dreams of getting into the Handball team. The progression of the film is quick and the plot unfolds with an eagerness that is matched only with the exuberance that Koli’s character displays. Lovingly referred to as Wonder Woman by her mother, she is constantly derided and discouraged.
The plot is very simple and honest while being extremely nuanced. The protagonist’s true motivations for pursuing sports is only revealed towards the end. It is rather inconsequential, but the happiness and empowerment the protagonist achieves from this small act speaks a lot. That is the whole crux of the short film. Tarun Dudeja has done an immensely wonderful job of highlighting several stark realities while still keeping the film positive.
However, the major highlight of the short film still remains Koli’s performance. There is a certain light in her eyes that is hard to find. She is not riding on the coattails of anyone but her own performances. While the Haryanvi accent leaves a lot to be desired, the attempt is still appreciated. Even though Koli herself is 27 years old, she is incredibly convincing as a teenager. However, Koli is not the only actor worth highlighting here, as almost all actors have done a stellar job. The accent and setting feels very authentic, and the Indian semi-pastoral life is portrayed very well.
Khayali Pulao is a bright, positive and honest short film with some really brilliant performances, and will definitely mark a place in several people’s hearts.