Charm in spades, acting that would leave you dazed, and a stripped-down simplicity – these are all a part of Samantha Akkineni’s aura. Her graceful rise from the tight-knit Anglo-Indian community in south Chennai to one of the most powerful and bankable stars in the Telugu and Tamil film industry is a story that deserves to be told.
Samantha Akkineni (née Ruth Prabhu), who turns 33 today, completes 10 years in the movie industry as a leading lady this year. She is well-known for her striking performances as well as her outspoken nature off-screen.On her birthday, here’s a quick rundown of her career over the last decade.
Breaking through brackets
While most might think of her as being locked into a ‘cute girl’ stereotype, her body of work proves otherwise. Despite memorable works like Ye Maya Chesave (2010) and Eega (2012), in 2015, Samatha said in an interview that she might just quit the industry if she doesn’t get to work on projects that don’t go a certain direction artistically. Luckily, she didn’t quit and kept on working through exciting roles.
Having said that, her career is not entirely devoid of masala, action, or romance movies as well – ‘wrong decisions’ as she has called them. Yet, with refined acting chops, Samantha -who has won more than 30 awards in 10 years - was seen in a spate of rather interesting films recently - including some of the biggest hits down south, like Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, Attarintiki Daredi, Kaththi, 24, Mersal, Rangasthalam, and the critically-acclaimed Super Deluxe.
No doubt, Super Deluxe stands as the film where Samantha’s performance really peaked. Layered in shades of guilt, nonchalance, vulnerability, anxiety, and dread in the face of unspeakable horror, she more than held her own, considering the calibre of acting talent present in the film.
With both commercial and critical success in her kitty, Samantha is a star in her own right. To date, she remains one of the very few female stars who can carry an entire film on her own and be part of the mass, masala fare, both with equal ease.
Outside the silver screen, social media
Instagram and Twitter is a field of play that Samantha has taken up rather effortlessly. Her Instagram feed - which has a whopping 9.6 million followers - is carefully curated and well-shot. Her Twitter, on the other hand, is where she is known to let loose. Hitting back regularly at trolls, this star - who has 7.9 million followers on Twitter - makes her stance clear.
When most actors of her stature – she is after all a bona fide superstar, married to an equally successful actor, Telugu star Naga Chaitanya – would steer clear of controversies, Samantha has slammed noted superstars such as Mahesh Babu and their films for portraying women in a sexist, provocative way. One of the more headstrong personalities in the industry, the actress has even dared to call out the male dominance in Telugu and Tamil cinema.
She also unfailingly picks up issues close to her heart, bringing words into the arena of action. Through Pratyusha Support, a foundation that she co-founded along with Padmashri Dr. Manjula Anagani, the actress has been serving underprivileged people by delivering medical support to women and children.
The brand ambassador for handloom products of the Telangana government, Samantha has also taken upon herself the cause of weavers and artisans of the region. Frequently, during her photoshoots and promotions, you can find the actress donning and promoting the local craftsmanship. She has recently started an early learning initiative for children, called Ekam Early Learning Centre.
MAKERS India wishes this star a very happy birthday and here’s to seeing more diverse, challenging, stereotype-breaking, and entertaining films from her in the coming years.
(Written by Immanuel Jotham, with inputs from Sutrishna Ghosh)
(Edited by Varnika Gupta and Athira Nair)