Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Meet Pragathi Yadhati, Actress

Born in Anantapur, India, Pragathi Yadhati is a film and theater actress who lives in New York. In addition to acting, Pragathi writes plays and poems, and she also does modelling work. Learn more about her by visiting her IMBD profile.

1. How does it feel to be an Indian actress in New York City?

It feels great. In this era of globalization, the world is coming together sharing all the different cultures that exist in it. I'm glad that I have the opportunity to portray my own and contribute to creating this awareness of multicultural impact globalization has. New York audiences loved my performances in off-Broadway shows like Bollywood Wedding, Baggage Claim, and others, and my stand up comedy which introduced our culture to them. We all know that a high percentage of Indians are into IT as engineers, and many of them work here in the United States. But there are hardly any Indian actors who represent this population or capture the essence of their lifestyles. I'm working in cross cultural movies that are mainly targeted to present this to the American audience and at the same time provide a platform for those Indians to connect their lives with the global culture.

2. What was it like for you to attend the well-known Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute?

It was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot in the two years that I spent there. Apart from acting on stage and in front of camera, I've learned the importance of punctuality and discipline. I learned how to keep my body, mind, and soul in tune so as to perfect the craft that I perform.

3. Would you tell us about some of the awards you've won so far for your acting work? What are some of your achievements so far?

As I'm working my way to doing big things, one of my short films got nominated for the Best Film at Queens World Film Festival (2011), and the other one just got accepted at the prestigious Heritage Film Festival. One of my Indian short films won the Best Short Film award at the Kalaignar Television channel awards show called "Naalaiya Iyakkunar 3" in 2012. Now I'm working in a feature film which is the first language agnostic film ever made. Apart from these, I’ve received several prizes in dance and acting growing up when arts was just an extracurricular activity. I performed on many a great stages in my hometown in India such as Hari Hara Kala Bhavan, Thyagaraya Gaana Sabha, and others, all places dedicated for performing arts and cinema. I won several prizes for these performances and received them from the hands of notable people in India like the present Home Minister for the State of Telangana, India, Nayani Narasimha Reddy (formerly the Technical Education Minister of the State), elite stars of South Indian cinema like Ramya Krishnan and Chiranjeevi. I feel fortunate to have received several awards from award winning seasoned actors and movie industry prominents like Dadasaheb phalke award winner (India's highest award in cinema) Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao , C. Narayana Reddy, Telangana Shakuntala , Madhukar Anand, Shobha Naidu, and others. The tradition in India is that the awardee is honored by donning a silk shawl around their shoulders for their contribution to excellence in their field. I feel extremely proud to have received such an honor by Mr. Nageswara Rao and Mr. Reddy at such a young age that I was.

4. As someone who enjoys writing as well as acting, do you hope to expand your career into writing and possibly directing work in the future?

Acting and performing is my passion. There is nothing like being on stage, in the moment and in front of the live audience. And there is no feeling better than reaching out to and touching lives of millions of audience through cinema. I choose to be an actor.

Putting in words what you want to bring to live performance is a tough process. I love writing and I enjoy this process of writing. I've started writing my own screenplays. But I haven't thought about directing yet though.

5. What else would you like American audiences to know about you--and when can we see you on screen?

As many of you in New York call me, I'm your Indian girl. An authentic Indian girl who has roots in India and education in America. Who else could better portray all those Indian roles that you wanna see on TV and movies? With a few projects currently in works, I'm looking forward to more opportunities that give me a challenge to bring out my full potential and present it to the audience.

Thanks, Pragathi!

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