Born in the town of Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, Pragathi Yadhati holds the rare distinction of being the only Telugu girl doing theatre in New York. She has also been part of two Hindi and one Hollywood feature film.
After moving to the United States on her father’s insistence, she completed her Masters in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Louisville, Kentucky. “But I wanted to pursue my dream of acting and enrolled in the New York Film Academy (NYFA),” she says.
Not content with what she learnt there, she then enrolled in the prestigious Lee Strasberg Film and Television Institute. “It was a two-year conservatory programme. I did several Broadway and off Broadway shows during that time. It was a very enriching experience,” she says.
She then debuted in Bollywood with the movie, Ooops a Desi, in which she played the lead role. “I had been studying the Meisner technique for four years from Matthew Corozine at the Times Square Art centre. That’s where Jenner Jose, the movie’s director, saw me perform and offered me the role,” she recounts.
The movie received a lukewarm response in India. But she has a different take on it: “Success has many definitions. According to me, success is doing what I love to do. However, if it has to be measured in terms of money, it definitely wasn’t successful.”
Relocating to Hyderabad, she began to explore more and won several awards including one from her favourite matinee idols, Chiranjeevi and Ramya Krishna.
She is selective about her roles and has even turned down several movie offers from Tollywood and Bollywood. She says, “Unlike many actresses who stick to the clichéd roles, I have played a vast variety of roles including a crazy teenage nerd to a butch lesbian.”
Pragathi is quite excited about her upcoming movie, The Ring Around the Rose. She says, “I personally love psychological thrillers. It is the first film to be made as a language agonistic and location agnostic. Rarely does a movie comes out that has a good narrative and a mind bending twist like Sixth Sense and The Others.”