Aarti Mann is an American actress bet known for her role as ‘Priya Koothrappali’ in The Big Bang Theory. Aarti played Priya for a 12-show run starting in season four and ending early in season five.
Since her appearances on Big Bang Theory, she has continued to act, but went back to working on dramas, her preferred genre. She has appeared in Leverage, Suits, Scandal, NCIS: New Orleans, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Aarti Majumdar was born in Connecticut on March 3, 1978 to Indian-American parents. She and her brother and sister are the first-generation of her family to be born in America. Her mother is a doctor who specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. Her father was also a physician.
When she was young, her family moved to Pittsburgh, where her mother graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The family ultimately settled in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Aarti graduated from Shady Side Academy, however, unlike many other young actors, she did not act at all while she was in high school. She was accepted to New York University where she studied film directing.
It wasn’t until college that Aarti stepped out from behind the camera and started doing some acting. She would convince her friends who were making movies to give her some smaller parts so that she could try it out.
After she graduated, Aarti continued to act. Her first national role was in a commercial for the car company Volvo. Her first acting credit did not come until 2006. She played a supporting role in the film The Memsahib. The movie jumps between two different relationships of a western and an Indian in both the 1850s and 2000s.
From that she got a role on the tv show, The Future Dead. While she was only on the show for three episodes, she also got a chance to direct two of them, as the show’s second unit director. In 2009, Aarti acted in an episode of the hit TV show Heroes.
Big Bang Theory
In 2010, Aarti landed the role of Priya Koothrappali on the Emmy Award winning TV show, Big Bang Theory. In the show, Priya had met Leonard and Howard and the two friends agreed not to hit on her, but Leonard ended up sleeping with her.
Leonard wants to return to India with Priya, but she cannot return home with a white man. Throughout the course of season four, Priya comes back to California and resumes her relationship with Leonard.
Fans were generally conflicted about Priya and her relationship with Leonard.
Aarti had never done comedy before and was a little uncomfortable at first. It didn’t help that Johnny Galecki, who played Leonard, would sometimes go off script for laughs. Producers told Aarti not to be over-the-top and instead play it simply.
Oftentimes, she would play the straight woman in the comedy duo. This and the tension between Priya and Penny, Leonard’s ex-girlfriend on the show, caused fans to dislike the character.
After 10 episodes in season four, Priya went back to India after Leonard told her parents about their relationship and they disapproved. Leonard and Priya tried to keep the relationship going via skype during season five, but ultimately, Leonard moved on and so did the show without Aarti.
Aarti said that she had a blast working on the show and had hoped to return before the show went off the air in 2019, but it was not to be.
Post Big Bang Theory
After her star turn on The Big Bang Theory, Aarti decided to head back to her roots in drama. In 2012, she starred in an episode of the TV show Leverage.
That started her on the road to guest appearances on popular TV dramas over the next five years. She starred in episodes of Suits, Scandal, NCIS: New Orleans, Grey’s Anatomy, and Never Have I Ever.
During this time, she also went back behind the camera. In 2016, she wrote and directed a short film called Siempre. She also wrote and directed another short film called Augury, which is currently in post-production.
What is Aarti Mann doing now?
Aarti is still acting in minor roles in various television shows. In 2022, Aarti starred in a TV show pilot called The Recruit, about the CIA. In 2023, the film, The Donor Party, will be released starring Aarti.
She is also making the transition back to comedy. In late 2023, she will be starring with Alec Baldwin and Kelsey Grammer in an untitled project.
Aarti lives in Los Angeles with her husband Purvesh Mankad. Purvesh is the chief financial officer for Cover Technologies. Aarti took the first part of his last name and added an additional N for her stage name.
The pair has one daughter named Nikita. Her older sister, Kruti, also works in the entertainment industry and her younger brother, Nishad, is a journalist. Her father passed away when she was in high school.
She can be found on social media here.