Sunday, July 7, 2013

Prakash Mohandas Prepares 'Om Shanti Om' for Dell Hall, Long Center - Austin Statesman, July 7, 2013

Uncredited feature published July 7 in the Statesman's 'Love My Job' feature

Click to go to the Statesman's video interview of Prakash Mohandas

Austin Statesman

 Love My Job: Prakhash Mohandas

Prakhash Mohandas Austin Statesman Om Shanti Om Agni Productions Austin TX

(photo: Austin Statesman)

 Watching Prakash Mohandas direct cast members for his upcoming production, “Om Shanti — Once upon a Time in Bollywood,” it is hard to believe engineering was his mainstay up until a few months ago. [CLICK to view 'Upcoming' announcement page at]

The actor, dancer, musician and filmmaker is obviously in his realm on the stage, but Mohandas is also a successful entrepreneur. He is founder and CEO of Agni Entertainment, the burgeoning film and theater company which produces, promotes and distributes independent film and theater projects with a South Asian focus.

“Coming from India, I never thought that all of my artistic interests could be translated into a profession,” he said. “I think one of the things the U.S. has taught me is that anything can be a profession if you are really passionate about it, provided that you put in some thought about how you can make that passion of yours monetarily viable.”

Mohandas’ passion for the arts came at an early age. He began learning hip hop and jazz in India at age 6. When he was 11, he took up Indian classical music. He also participated in theater throughout school and continued to pursue dance, theater and music during his undergraduate studies.

“Most of my artistic abilities came from my early education in India,” he said. “But culturally, the community has a stigma against artistic careers; they aren’t considered lucrative enough to make a living. Culturally, I was raised to go toward a path of engineering, medicine, law or an MBA.”

Mohandas left India to attend graduate school in engineering at The University of Texas. Engineering was never something Mohandas questioned; instead, he said he followed suit with many of his peers and moved to the U.S. to pursue his graduate studies.

“Over there, all my artistic interests were considered hobbies — even through I was really passionate about them, I never thought of them as a career path,” he said.

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