“I am my only competition” Samantha Akkineni

Gathering momentum since her debut in 2010, Samantha Akkineni has won many hearts and has recorded extraordinary performances at the box office.

Words: KRITIKA DHAWAN

Actress Samantha Akkineni made her debut with a Telugu film Ye Maya Chesave in 2010. She also won a Filmfare award for her performance and since then has been securing roles in some of the most successful films including Kaththi (2014) and Mersal (2017). Samantha had five releases in 2018 and her Rangasthalam (2018) earned huge profit and accolades at the box office.

How it all began

Just like any other actor, Samantha also entered the industry with lots of hopes and insecurities. But she is happy that she is not the girl she was when she started acting. “Cinema, my work, was my world. I couldn’t see beyond it. It engulfed me,” she adds. Samantha feels once a person starts seeing acting as just a job, things become easier. “Since my debut in Ye Maaya Chesave (2010), I’ve been lucky that good scripts and directors have come my way. Yet, I believe this is the best phase of my life; I’m choosing projects that challenge the actor in me. Over these years, I’ve learned to let go of insecurities. Now, I am more confident about the value I bring to a film, irrespective of the screen time,” she says.

Intriguing Choice of Films

Samantha is being seen in a variety of films. Viewers loved her in Manam and Mahanati and she

also got critical acclaim for her performances in Theri and Mersal. On being asked what she looks for in the films she choose, she said, “I don’t categorise films that way. I just choose the kind of roles I would like to watch in theatres. Initially, I used to be concerned about my ‘looks’, ‘likeability’, ‘saleability’, and so on. But, in the last two years, I have only done films that make me happy. It’s important to strike a balance, and I am in my own space without being a part of the rat race.”

Samantha puts her life and soul in all her projects but Mahanati was very special to her. She feels, “It’s not because of my character, but because of Savitri amma. The film left an impact that will stay in people’s minds for a long time, and I’ll never forget the experience of shooting the climax scene. I had goosebumps.”

The Philosophical Side

Samantha feels that lots of things have changed since she joined the industry. When asked about it, she adds, “Many people tell you many things, and it confuses you to the extent that you destroy yourself. Slowly, you realise that there’s space for everyone. That’s the beauty of the industry. Once you understand your place is secure, your path becomes clear. Unfortunately, you don’t get that assurance as a newbie.” She goes on to add that success and failure do not last too long, ‘as you are as good or as bad as your last film’. The actress feels that the moment a film becomes a hit, one becomes a star, and when it flops, one becomes irrelevant. “It’s all about taking calculated risks and seeing how things pan out,” she asserts.

All the Way Up

The U-Turn (2018) actress has steadily made her way to the top. She says, “I always knew that I would not settle for anything mediocre. I knew that I would strive for excellence.” Samantha never gave much thought to where she might be 5 or 10 years later, instead she just kept working hard. She signs off by saying, “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 has become a part of my growth.”

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