February 26 2020
This is a great time for women in cinema, says Samantha
12 September 2018

Samantha Akkineni opens up on how she’s evolved with each film she’s worked in

A year after tying the knot and a host of releases lined up for her, Samantha Akkineni is a breath of fresh air that moves us to believe that an actress can really have it all. In a chat with MetroPlus, she talks about her upcoming films, women, and choosing scripts.

U Turn is the remake of the successful Kannada film. You were very intent on making this happen. Why is that?

I believed that it needed a larger audience. And since I’ve always been in touch with director Pawan Kumar from the time he made Lucia, it was about time we worked together. This is actually an adaptation of his original version. He’s improved upon it and it’s come out well. It’s a crisp two-hour film with mystery and emotion that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

You’re playing a journalist again, like you did in Nadigaiyar Thilagam...

Yes, that was in the 1980s and this is in the present. But no matter the time period, as with all female journalists, it’s about making it in a man’s world. You have to fight to be taken seriously. Just like my character. She’s an intern trying to prove her worth when she gets caught in a rough situation; the story shows how she tries to come out of it. The best part is, the character is very real. Even with her look, we’ve tried to keep it tomboyish and fuss-free.

The Kannada version of U Turn is already streaming on Netflix. How do you think a remake will fare in this scenario?

I think such a film is meant to be a theatrical experience. Sound is a big part of this film, so it’s definitely something you’d want to watch in a theatre. Pawan has also improved upon the original, especially the end bit. It has a lot of things working for it, with the presence of actors like Bhumika, Aadhi and Rahul.

You also have Seema Raja coming up. It’s your first time with the Sivakarthikeyan-Ponram team. How was that experience?

It was interesting, because for the first time, I play a village character, and even though it’s a commercial film, the director has given the heroine a very good role. It’s a complete family entertainer that I’m confident will work.


This is a great time for women in cinema, says Samantha

Actresses like Nayanthara and Jyothika are doing films where the heroine carries the entire film on her back; what do you think about that?

I think this is a great time for women in cinema. It’s encouraging that filmmakers are writing better roles and scripts keeping women in mind. It’s great that these actresses are paving the way for others to take up such roles.

You’re working with Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil for Super Deluxe. How’s that going?

It’s an original film and I’m looking forward to it. Again, the trends are changing in Tamil and Telugu; people want to see something new and this is something that’s going to be shockingly new. It’s not very often that you get to work with a director like Thiagarajan, so I’m excited about that.

Two years ago, you’d said that you prefer to do films that do well at the box office rather than critically-acclaimed ones. Has that changed?

Not really. Box-office results mean that more people are watching your film and enjoying it. This is the ultimate aim. We’re making films for the people. But as audiences change, so does your decision-making on scripts. It’s important to understand that times are changing and you have to change with them. With that in mind, my decision-making has evolved with the films that I’m doing now.

You’ve steadily made your own way to the top. So how would Samantha who just started out feel about where she is today?

I always knew that I would not settle for anything mediocre. I knew that I would strive for excellence. I never gave much thought to where I would be five or 10 years later, instead just worked hard. I’m proud of every film I’ve done, whether it’s the hits, the flops or the blockbusters; every film I did has taught me something. I’m proud of every decision I’ve made because I was a certain person while I was doing that film and it’s become a part of my growth



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