Success chases people who are least interested in it. Samantha is a living example of this saying. In an industry where glamour goes hand in hand with greed, Samantha is spending a lot of her hard earned money on “Pratyusha” foundation.
She learnt Telugu language as a mark of respect for Telugu people who have given her utmost love and affection. Here is an honest interview with a girl with not only a golden leg, but also a golden heart:
Was getting into films was on your agenda since your childhood?
No! I was a studious girl and a class topper. I got into modelling during B.Com. I got a chance to act in a film titled Moscowin Kaveri. Then Gowtam Menon was looking for a lead girl in Ye Maaya Chesave. I was among the 50 girls that auditioned. My modelling experience and Moscowin Kaveri opportunity were not the reasons for landing a role in YMC. It was purely on merit and I appeared for the auditions just like the 50 other girls.
You look dusky in your first film YMC, but you look very fair?
I was tanned down by 4 shades to the character of Jessy in YMC. Gowtam Menon wanted me to have a tanned down look with curly hair so that I could complete the character of a Chennai christian girl.
All your 4 Telugu films released so far are hits. Do you consider yourself lucky?
Yes. I have lots of luck in Telugu. However I had flops in Tamil. Till Dookudu, I didn’t have any choice but to accept films as they were tempting offers for any new actress. I consider luck factor for the first three films. But for Eega, I made the decision. I had many lucrative big commercial films offering me highest remuneration. But I loved Nann Ee (Eega) script so much that I was willing to forgo all those films to commit for Nann Ee (Eega). But again, I consider it lucky as it was SS Rajamouli who offered me the film. I can say that first three films were hits without any decision making from my part. From Nann Ee (Eega) onwards, I am making my own decisions.
You had break from films for 3 months in this year. What is the reason?
My immunity levels were very low. And I suffer for a longer durations whenever my health gets upset. That health problem prolonged for 3 months. I was bedridden and down during that period.
Tell us about your character in Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu?
The character of Nitya is very close to me. I portray a role that spans across three various stages of life – school, college and a 24 year old. YVM has realistic dialogue and believable characterizations. Ye Maaya Chesave was narrated from the boy’s point of view. Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu is narrated from both boy and girl’s perspective. YVM is all about moments. It’s like taking snippets from the lives of various people and knitting them into a film. YVM is a kind of film where you sit back, relax, connect to the film and feel good about it. YVM is like poetry and like a ballard.
How do you compare your performances in YMC and YVM?
My work was mediocre in YMC. But the vulnerability of Jessey character made up for my mistakes. I feel that my work in YVM is competent.
Working for Eega must have been a challenging task as an actress?
Audiences probably understood 20% of the efforts that actors invested for Nann Ee (Eega). We had to imagine Nann Ee (Eega) and act accordingly. Lots of heavy lights were used for shooting.
Crew members including SS Rajamouli used to have hooded shirts to avoid heat. I experienced skin burns during Nann Ee (Eega) shoot. It was physically very stressful to act in Nann Ee (Eega) and most satisfying as well. I am very proud to be the part of Nann Ee (Eega).
You have worked with many stars in Telugu. Who do you connect with the most in person?
Siddharth. Our likes, dislikes and sensibilities are similar.
You seem to have learned Telugu quite a bit?
Majority of my films are in Telugu. I feel that I am insulting Telugu audiences if I don’t learn and speak in Telugu. My staff of Telugu people and I talk with them only in Telugu.
Are you going to dub for films as well?
I am trying! I dubbed 40% of SVSC so far. Director/producer will make the final call. If they find my voice good, it will be retained. Otherwise, Chinmayi will dub for my character. Chinmayi dubbed my character in YVM as well.
What do you do when you are not working for films?
I was the most sought-after South Indian actress one day and I was bedridden after 15 days. In a span of 15 days, I saw peaks and lows. This made me realise the value of life and that nothing is permanent. I decided not to be selfish and share the love and affection I attained in a short-span of time. People who I don’t know looked after me when I was bedridden. I need to give it back.
Hence I started Pratyusha foundation for kids and women with the help of three doctor friends. Dr. Manjula takes care of cervical cancer for women. Dr. Pamela takes care of lifelong diseases like hemophilia and thalassemia for kids. Dr. Sirish takes care of kids who are affected by cancer at an early age. We are not planning for any donation and I am providing the entire financial support.
Working for Pratyusha foundation makes me more happier than acting in a blockbuster film. I feel that life has more to it than money and fame.
What are your future projects?
YVM is releasing on 14 December. SVSC, Auto Nagar Surya and Jabardasth (Siddharth – Nandini Reddy film) will be released in next 3-4 months. I don’t want to announce any projects without attending the first day of shoot. It’s my sentiment.