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Pellam Oorelithe actress Prashanthi Harathi on a comeback trail

After a brief tryst with acting in films like Indra, Pellam Oorelithe, Kuchipudi danseuse Prashanthi Harathi is keen on donning the greasepaint again


Raised in an orthodox, middle-class family in Vizag, Prashanthi Harathi grew up in a world quite distanced from films and the limelight, carving her niche as a formidable Kuchipudi danseuse in the early 2000s. With her growing popularity in the dance fraternity, several photography clubs approached her for shoots and modelling opportunities, where she was told that she had a ‘camera-friendly’ face.

Even when television and film offers came by, Prashanthi’s parents were apprehensive about ‘letting her fly’ in the big-bad world. Only when her elder sister got married and settled in Hyderabad, could Prashanthi convince her protective parents to try her luck in films again. She found her feet in television and forayed into films soon with February 14 Necklace Road.

She went on to act in multiple films – Rupayi, Indra, Bhadradri Ramudu – but is best remembered for her innocent wife act in SV Krishna Reddy’s Pellam Oorelithe. When her career was progressing reasonably well, she quit films out of the blue to marry a US-based engineer. Now, a mother to two children and the founder of a Kuchipudi academy, Prashanthi is all set for an acting comeback.

“I was quite happy to be married then because my husband promised that I could pursue my dancing interests in the US. When I was caught up in my domestic duties, raising two kids, I began missing films more. Only an artist can understand that void, perhaps. Watching Telugu films, I constantly kept telling myself about how I would’ve played a particular role differently.”

Now that her family is in a comfortable space, with children being independent enough to take care of themselves besides her husband’s persistent encouragement about her return to films, Prashanthi is hungry to prove herself again. “They’ve probably understood what it would’ve been to give up my acting interests suddenly many years ago. They don’t want me to miss it anymore.”

Acting in films came to her quite naturally in her brief industry stint, despite no formal training. “Dance was about stepping into the shoes of a character and bringing their emotions alive. I didn’t have to struggle to express myself on the screen.” K Viswanath’s films like Saptapadi, Sagara Sangamam and Swarna Kamalam were a constant motivation for her to hold onto her identity as a dancer.


A lot about the film world has changed since Prashanthi took a U-turn from showbiz one and a half decades ago, but the actress maintains she’s been an avid film buff all along. “We’re an active film-going lot in the US. The audience is less critical of films than here. All we want is to be entertained. Though criticism of films is prevalent in the US too, it’s more sophisticated.”

Prashanthi is all praise for the evolution of the digital space in recent years and says web shows are on par with feature films in terms of scale, performances and quality in the execution. “I am not particular about the medium and I don’t intend to be choosy. I hope to portray roles that make an impact regardless of screen space. I’m eager to adapt, relearn and get better.”

While she’s in Hyderabad to orchestrate her acting comeback, her daughter Tanya Harathi is gearing up for her Kuchipudi ranga pravesam later this year. in Dallas. Tanya was in the news for her dance video ‘Teluginti Samskruti’ recently,  uploaded on director K Raghavendra Rao’s Youtube channel. “I hope to make a mark in my second innings and quench my thirst to act again,” she signs off.