Samantha Akkineni is convinced heroines are expected to leave their brains at home before they come to the shoot. But she is not that kind of an actress prepared to kowtow to the stereotypical role in order to count success and money from films.
Playing characters closer to real life than being just the doll in the scene is what excites her most and brings out her ability to face the challenge with her histrionic skills. "A girl in any field is fighting in a man's world in terms of workplace, the problems she faces and having to prove herself has not changed yet,” she says.
The role of an investigative journalist in her latest film seemed to bring out the best in her although the role is only a reprisal of the Kannada original starring Shraddha Srinath. Samantha believes she has proved herself in the film centred around traffic violation incidents in a flyover and the supernatural twists and turns in murders made to look like suicides.
She says, “Usually, heroines have to leave their brains at home and do some roles. One has simply to dumb-down and act. In such a scenario, I felt that U-Turn is a movie that I should not miss out on as the character is closer to reality and I was able to relate to it.”
The key to understanding the film is the content is the hero rather than the protagonist. But she dismisses talk about the film being ‘woman-centric’. The phrase, she says, has almost become a bad word in the trade. “Just because a girl is in the poster it does not mean it is a film that talks about women empowerment or feminism. It’s mystery thriller and I play the central character.”
A professional secret she reveals is she does not use glycerine to whip up tearful emotions on screen. Having worked with filmmakers like Gautham Menon, Sam says she has learnt to emote without glycerine in emotional scenes. “I don’t use glycerine. I would be laughing and talking before a shot begins. Once the director says ‘action’, tears would automatically start rolling. But imagine my plight in U Turn, I was asked to perform twice, once in Tamil and then in Telugu. However, I managed. Also, I dubbed my own voice for the film.”
Samantha had sought out Pawan Kumar to evince her interest in doing the language remakes. “I loved Pawan Kumar’s earlier Kannada film Luciaand evinced an interest to work with him. But, he silently started his next and I came to know about it when he released its trailer and I was very impressed. I called up and said I would do the Tamil and Telugu remakes even before U Turn is to hit the cinema halls.” She believes it would be nice just to get the film across to audiences in different states.
An unusual feature of her visit to Chennai to celebrate 100 days of Irumbu Thirai and for the promos of two of her upcoming films was Samantha was spotted selling vegetables at the Koyambedu wholesale market amid huge crowds. And we even heard she sold one kilo of tomatoes for `1,000! “Oh! That was for a reality show and since the proceeds are going to charity, I agreed to be part of it!”. Even so, Sam says she wants to be part of fantasy films rather than biopics.
When it was pointed out that she is still a preferred actress despite her marital status, she comments,. “It is not enough and an easy thing! Because I got this tag, I have to constantly keep succeeding for the ‘myth’ to be completely broken,” she says and laughs.
Interestingly, husband and wife are to compete at the BO as both Chai's Sailaja Reddy Alludu and Sam's U Turn are releasing on the same day. “Conflicts of interest are happening! It’s all because of Pawan Kumar. I told him to postpone U Turnrelease, but he and the producer didn’t budge an inch. I know they have decided to create a controversy and hoping the film would run on this. Jokes apart, at the end of the day, it’s in the family and each one’s film will be successful on its own merits, “she signs off with a smile....