Onstage for Indo-English theater productions or in her own informal sketches, Priya brings forth various dimensions of her personality, dance training, voice modulation, stage presence and emotive experience. For her, acting has been enmeshed with dance as the two often go together. Her keen sense of communication with live audiences through dance presentations, gives her an added edge while delivering stage presentations in Hindi and English. From comedy to tragedy, Priya can portray eclectic characters as part of simple or complex plots.
Check out the vignette below of a web series in the making “Reading Carteret” that focuses on the significance of Radiology in our medical world. In this, Priya plays the lead character of the brilliant- but opinionated & fiery, Head of Department of Radiology at a rural hospital in NC, Dr. Maira Darwish. This snippet gives a trenchant impression about the characters of Dr. Darwish and Proctor, seen here locked in a battle of wits. Directed & written by Chris Hobson, filmed by the Award-winning Josh Woll, and produced by the American College of Radiology.
One of her past full-scale presentations was in the cameo role of “Nisha”- a firebrand elite socialite in Madhu Rai’s famous controversial Indo-English play “The Terrace” set in urban India. Staged at popular auditoria in New Zealand, Priya’s characterization of the lead protagonist brought her acclaim within the Indian & extended community of the Greater Auckland region.
The Terrace, a contemporary Indian play in English, staged over three nights in October 2007. It broke away from the folk theatre genre to explore a modern format. The play, set in a rich Indian city milieu with characters who gradually unearth hidden ambitions, intentions, foul play and affairs between layers of gin and tonic … and some twisted ends. Although there was virtually no Bollywood dancing in this somber dark satire, Priya’s monologues delivered packed punches throughout, greeted with equally powerful, pin-drop silence from the riveted audience. The New Zealand media & audiences gave Priya several affirmative reviews based on her stalwart performance.
Here is a snippet of what people said:
What a privilege to see you perform again, Priya. I’ve always been excited about being behind-the-scenes in your dance shows, but this time, with your character portrayed in The Terrace, you just blew me away with another revelation of your attributes. How lucky that I got to catch you whilst in Auckland in a superb brilliant role that you did full justice to. The play was 2.5 hours of solid entertainment!…I loved all the characters although I must say the end left me very, very disconcerted. Love Indian theatre !! thanks….you’ve introduced me to both this and Bollywood, and they’re both remarkable in their own right. I love the beauty and color of India !”- Kate Kelly- artistic creator/ stage & dance associate
I was impressed with your histrionics, Priya. I hope this means you will be able to assist us in training the children towards their annual school play this December and also hopefully incorporate speech and drama in your lessons from next year- School Principal, Global Indian International School.
Acclaim for Priya’s histrionics in the Indian & extended community media, New Zealand
Stunning performance Priya! Thank you for an evening of brilliant acting. You looked ravishing and held us captive. Take care and see you soon when my daughter and friends start learning dance from you – Cookie Naidoo- Parent of dancing/acting young girls in Priya’s troupe.
Priya, that was absolutely riveting! Your memorizing skills and public speaking abilities just enhance your intelligence with which you played ‘Nisha’. Once again, top marks Priya! – you’ll make it to the best business speakers someday! and Thank you for a wonderful evening of entertainment-Nano Takai, Tutor and Course Co-ordinator at the Business School, Auckland
Wow, Priya, you’re a natural- you should keep it up, we couldn’t take our eyes off you- your dialogue delivery was crystal clear and you held our attention right to the end…we were 8 of us in the group…almost all of us enjoyed the acting, (yours especially) Despite the English adaptation of the original script, the Indian humor went over our heads…..but overall, it was a good evening….showed us a side of Indian society that we otherwise wouldn’t have known existed – Karl Hacker, Colleague, Space Dome Technologies, Auckland.
I was caught in between my girls as they tried to translate the play to my parents ( who couldn’t understand a word, although they do watch the ‘Kumars’ on TV avidly!) But we all enjoyed Priya’s acting skills immensely and kept on asking “how did she memorize all those lines!” Lots of verbosities, more suited for seasoned players. Must be biased here though when I say that Priya’s performance came close to a professional caliber and Kanchan’s too (Harshad Shah). I need to watch it again with a clear head to make my own deductions on what the playwright wanted us to believe. I think it was good, even though very ambitious- Dennis Hyde, Managing Director, Space Dome Films Ltd, Auckland space dome.co.nz/Films
Priya, you were real..genuine.. a lot of feeling…no doubt about that! –Avalon and Nicole (youth students)
Other audience members: “Must’ve been hard to keep that intensity going- requires so much energy…’‘What a fantastic performance-and on opening night too!’ “Excellent job’‘ Well done’‘“You rocked’ ‘Priya, you made me cry!” “There was stone dead silence when you delivered your fiery monologue..we were so caught up in the unbridled emotion welling from your heart” ‘Realism extraordinaire!’
Prayas’ production “The Terrace ” played to packed houses all season in 2007-8 at The Performing Arts Center and at Auckland Girls Grammar School Theater, New Zealand.
Priya has staged full-length sketches for children and teens in Mumbai since the 90’s. She has helped children & youth take the stage at Prithvi, Bhaidas, Rangsharda, Sophia Bhabha & other prominent auditoria in Mumbai India. More recently, a comedy scripted and directed by her “Love Mera Hit Hit” – was staged as part of the dinner theater at the Annual “Diwali Dhamaka” Ball for the Indian Friends Meetup Group, Atlanta’s biggest Indian social community. Along with them, members of Priya’s classes at Greater Atlanta Vedic Temple and Gwinnett County Parks & Recreations also performed in this hilarious comedy scripted by her. Priya played a cameo of a flamboyant dance tutor who coaches a novice learner how to dance in order to win the love of his dreams. With several Bollywood routines, acting and humorous dialogue, this dinner theatre production played to packed and appreciative audiences at three different destinations in Georgia from 2009 to 2010.
Diwali was truly amazing this year. The Indian Friends MeetUp Group did an excellent job arranging an incredible evening filled with awesome shows, performers and more. It was non stop action from start to finish… The place was packed. Tickets were sold out in advance… The highlight of the evening was a BOLLYWOOD STYLE show choreographed by Priya Chellani of Indigo Dance. It was very impressive! Absolutely incredible! I couldn’t get over the number of Dance scenes and well-choreographed pieces. They must have been preparing since March to memorize all that! Wow! For me, it was as if Bollywood had come to life right before my very eyes. All involved did a fantastic job. Members from Atlanta’s Bellydance Community also had major dance roles in the purely Bollywood style routines. There was very little “crossover.” Awesome job! The plot was a dance teacher tries to teach a 1st-time dance student some moves. He’s terrible at it but soon learns. But that’s not all…as with every Bollywood Film, there were twists and turns and all sorts of drama accompanied by fabulous dance scenes and costume changes. If anything it showed the capability of Priya Chellani who put this enormous act together. If you can get a hold of the videos then do. I’m putting together a montage soon and will post a link to it on Raqs Atlanta. Big thanks to the IFMG for being so welcoming…And mega zaghareets to Priya for putting the fine touch on the event! It was incredible. *Priya’s picture is on our Raqs Atlanta page cover. More videos and albums from the show will post Friday.”-Andina Atughone, RAQS ATLANTA Event Co-ordinator & Dance Journalist
Absolutely brilliant job by everybody…., dance show by Priya and group, …… everybody did their jobs so well and of course, such a great night was the outcome. The great and brilliant show, I know we all clapped very hard after the dance show”.-Ramji IFMG
Priya did an awesome job of training our group for our Diwali show organized in Atlanta. Priya contributed in almost every aspect of the whole dance performance. In the end, she did deliver outstanding performers in the show and the crowd simply loved it…”--Selva Arunachalam
Wow, what a party! The shows, skits, presentation, everything was simply wonderful and engaging. The dancers impressed the heck out of me. Where do I sign up for the class? I’ve known the group for some time and they are talented, caring and genuine people quite capable of creating the “wow” factor!”-Syed, Group member IFMG
I enjoyed all the dances you choreographed – in particular, I was floored at how good Selva has gotten at dancing under your tutelage. Take care and Saal Mubarak.” –Anand Dave
Thanks for everything. Really enjoyed the experience!”-Tiffiney, Florida, 2010
All the very best! Great time, great outcome! … Congratulations.”-Vijay Gopalakrishnan, IFMG
Truly, words cannot describe our depth of thanks for your unfailing devotion to this production, Priya. From the first spark of our idea to the full flower of our efforts, you have supported us all with your energy, talent, resources, and professionalism. We have become stronger dancers and more creative people because of you” –BJ Barrett: (Bellydancer at RAQS Atlanta /Bollywood student), Atlanta 2009
Hi Priya, wonderful job as always! It was very little time to have been with you, but even in that while, you have gone into the depth of my heart. May you always have the best. Atlanta 2009 -Shree Vora (Makeup artist & Hairstylist for team Indigo
Kudos to all the hard work the organizers and participants put in- impressive fare! – Atlanta 2009, Vijay N. IFMG
Priya, thanks for the highly entertaining musical your team put up at our networking meet over the weekend. Everyone is still raving about it and we all think it’s a good idea to bring you back here to South GA for those of us who want more! You are a great dancer and an even better crowd motivator! Thanks and we hope you and your entire team enjoyed your stay at the Hampton.-Prenita Alimchandani, Hotel Hampton Inn, GA, 2010
Priya, thank you once again for this selfless piece of art you and your team created. Please accept our gratitude for your services rendered to our community through your dance portrayals and the certificates a small token for each of your team members for this well-coordinated effort.” –Greater Atlanta Vedic Temple, Atlanta 2010