No one dictate’s how Priyanka Shetty should live her life. She has figured out how to live life to the fullest on her own. Priyanka is the co-founder of two big platforms in music and theatre. The popular online journal, What’s The Scene? and Antardwand, respectively.
Deeply passionate about both fields, Priyanka started the online music journal www.whatsthescene.com with Sidharth Mohan to promote the live music scene in India through unbiased music journalism. And around the same time as WTS’s inception, a long dormant passion for theatre resurfaced. She founded the theatre group Antardwand.
What started out as a four-page weekly newsletter that went out to about 50 music-lovers, What’s The Scene? is now spread across the country in nine cities with over 150 music journalists. From taking interviews of bands in Hard Rock Café (Bangalore), to being hailed as one of the top women entrepreneurs by several magazines and newspapers, Priyanka has shown the world that when one works for what they enjoy, it is indeed an easy climb to success.
But, behind the façade of her success lies the glass ceiling that comes time and again in the way of Priyanka’s growth. She says, “It is hard being in a leadership position as a woman. There is a lot of pushback, condescension and negativity you have to deal with.” Not one to take things lying down, Priyanka adds, “All this has made me stronger. I know how to survive in a man’s world. All the projects that I have undertaken, be it with WTS or any of the plays that I have done have involved an immense amount of risk and hard work.” Despite her confidence, Priyanka was often plagued by self-doubt, believing herself to have bitten off more than she can chew. After all, managing over 150 journalists in nine cities is no joke. But, all has gone well. Her diligence and hard-work has been duly recognized and applauded. She appeared in a big spread in Deccan Chronicle’s 5th anniversary edition titled ‘5 Achievers That Encompass The Five Elements Inherent To Success – Independence, Free-Spirit, Innovation, Talent And Enterprise.’ With a tongue-in-cheek remark, Priyanka says, “I hoped I would live up to all the hype!”
The Tarot card – The Fool is an excellent example of following your bliss; trust and take a chance, live on the edge, be bold and confident, take things one day at a time and enjoy the ride.”
While WTS was gaining its fandom, Priyanka was also amassing several hit theatre shows. The first show by her group, Antardwand, was ‘Chokher Bali’. It was her directorial debut; and she also played the central character ‘Binodini’. It was performed at Infosys Ltd., and was well-received by a surprisingly large audience of over 2000 people. Under Priyanka’s direction, ‘My Fair Lady’, the next popular adaptation was a bigger hit, leading to Antardwand having three successful runs of this classic musical. Then one fine day, Priyanka was cast by popular director Leila Alvares as ‘Fruma Sarah’ in her musical adaptation of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Little did Priyanka know that she had already made a head start in her career as an actor.
All these achievements under her belt while Priyanka still worked full-time as a software engineer! She says, “The satisfaction I got from following my dreams sparked a desire in me to make serious advances in the direction of the arts.” In 2014, she quit her lucrative job and decided to dedicate the rest of her life to what she is truly passionate about. Since then Priyanka has moved to Columbus, USA, having been cast in five productions with highly challenging roles. And earlier this year she was rewarded yet again for her talent and ardour towards her work. She is one of eight students accepted into the prestigious acting program at The University of Virginia with a full scholarship to pursue her Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting.
When asked about other plans, and opportunities she is exploring, Priyanka says, “I’m working on some very interesting projects – I’ve been cast in one of the lead roles in ‘Shipwrecked’, a play written by Pulitzer award-winning playwright Donald Margulies who will be attending the show. No pressure! I’m also working on a musical adaptation of the Indian classic ‘Mughal-e-Azam’. And of course there’s WTS’s massive comeback.”
Priyanka Shetty shares advice that she perhaps followed herself to achieve success. She is inspired by the description of The Fool card in the Tarot. She explains, “It is an excellent example of following your bliss; trust and take a chance, live on the edge, be bold and confident, take things one day at a time and enjoy the ride.