Samantha Ruth Prabhu is now Samantha Akkineni. The actress, who got married recently, is a picture of contentment. “I think I am blessed to have got such an understanding family,” she says. She’s already begun shooting for Mahanati (the Savitri biopic). “I don’t understand why people ask me if I’ll continue working. I love acting as much as I love my family. I can never think about putting one over the other,” she says.
The actress is excited about Mersal that is getting released today. “I am working with Vijay for the third time. He’s a thorough gentleman, and makes co-stars feel secure. There’s a reason why he’s celebrated as a star,” she says. Just like in their previous association, Theri, Samantha’s character will not be seen throughout the film.
“That doesn’t bother me. When Atlee narrated the story, he told me he needed a character. I really don’t like this idea of calling a role small. It’s a big film at the end of the day. It’s nice to be recognised as an artiste and not just as a heroine,” she says.
Samantha is all praise for Atlee’s sense of clarity. “Mersal is his third film, but it doesn’t seem that way on the sets. He’s an extremely mature guy and respects actors a lot. I always look out for like-minded people, who share my wavelength. It makes work so easy,” she says.
Her choice of scripts is based on her intuition. “This is my eighth year in the industry. I’ve been criticised for doing the same roles, but I strongly believe I’ve evolved as an actress.” It is not just about being a part successful films, she says.
“It is about learning and doing what I like. I accept only those roles that I enjoy. Also, I don’t compete with anyone. This number game keeps changing every Friday anyway!” she says.
Samantha takes pride about having worked in different genres with a lot of interesting directors, and continuing to do so. For instance, she is a part of upcoming films like Rangasthalam 1985, Irumbu Thirai, Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Super Deluxe and the untitled Sivakarthikeyan-Ponram project.
“I have finishing shooting for two schedules for Ponram’s film. As for the Savitri biopic, I play an important character. Keerthy Suresh plays Savitri. I have seen a few pictures of her; she looks gorgeous. I’m glad that filmmakers are writing roles for women,” she says.
She likes it when actresses break stereotypes. “I always tweet whenever I hear about interesting projects and roles for women. Some day, perhaps I’ll get such roles too. I want to reinvent myself.”
On all the adulation, she says it took a long time before she began to accept the love from her fans. “I lacked confidence in the beginning. When fans showered love, I’d wonder if I was worth all that. Slowly, I began to accept it, and it feels good. I have got this stardom from nowhere, and I know it’s fleeting. You never know when it will vanish.”
AR Murugadoss, Gautham Menon, SS Rajamouli and Trivikram