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Samantha: I am done with clichéd heroine roles

Actor Samantha   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

It’s her fourth release this summer and Samantha has been answering questions, over and over. This time, when the media gathers, she’s asked if she’s getting hitched soon. She dodges, questions persist. Only when she’s whisked away does she get talking, and how!

A… Aa is a film where you’re in focus. Does that make it special for you?

It does. Only one in 10 films have some scope for the heroine. A… Aa is Anasuya Ramalingam’s (her character) adventure from a protected upbringing. Anasuya is like me… a little allari, naive and prone to taking brash decisions. This romance also talks about relationships in a family. Also, I haven’t tried comedy earlier. Luckily, Trivikram (Srinivas) has a subtle yet terrific sense of humour. I imitated him in a few scenes. It’s a risk because you can get irritating in the name of comedy.

You’ve been a part of Trivikram’s films before while it’s the first for Nithiin. Did it involve some ice breaking on the sets?

We are all friends off screen, so it was easy. What was tough was doing romantic scenes with a friend. It felt awkward. Trivikram wondered if he had made a mistake in casting us together.

Are we seeing a new Samantha? While there is Janata Garage with a star like NTR, you will be seen in the remake of U-Turn (Kannada) and Vettrimaran’s Vada Chennai (Tamil).

Absolutely. I am done with the clichéd heroine roles. I can’t go to work without a challenge. I want to do films that drive me, films in which I am a part of the main plot. There are times when I’ve watched the final outcome of a film and wondered what was going on. I get tired of coming up with the same expressions. When I have to be sad, I tell myself ‘okay, time to use expression number 5’.

So you’re aware your expressions were getting repetitive?

I am my biggest critic. Even in films where people said they liked me, I have disliked myself. It’s been like a template. A… Aa has been refreshing. Trivikram would tell me not to give the first two expressions that come to mind when I have to enact a situation. It’s a special film. But after A… Aa, I doubt if I’ll do a romance soon. I’ve given my all to this role. I am looking forward to U-Turn, a thriller, and Vada Chennai where I play a slum girl.

You took the initiative to be a part of U-Turn remake. Would you take to production like, say, Anushka Sharma?

I haven’t thought about it but who knows. Never say never.

It’s been seven years since your first film released. What has made you click?

There have been key decisions at different points of my career. I choose Eega over two other extremely commercial films. My first break came with Ye Maaya Chesave and paved a path that wasn’t of a usual heroine. I took it as a challenge and tried to tread in that road less travelled, within the commercial format.

I am not here to do a film that only a 1000 people would watch. I also want to reach the masses. My friends tell me my tastes are similar to that of B and C centres. Those are the centres that bring in the collections. There’s a thin line between catering to the masses and making a fool of yourself; I try to walk that line.

If Gautham Menon hadn’t cast you as Jessi ( Ye Maaya Chesave ) and Nithya Yelavarthy ( Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu ), how different would your journey have been?

It would have been tough. Instead of a good debut in 2010, I may have struggled with mediocre roles for another three years. There are thousands of good looking women out there. Longevity for a heroine doesn’t come only with good looks, talent matters.

Have you dubbed for A… Aa or is it Chinmayi again?

This film is told from the girl’s point of view. If I had dubbed, the film will release only next June (laughs). I’ve dubbed for a few Tamil films, including Theri (Police). I know Telugu but the accent may not be spot on. People do not associate me with my voice anymore. Chinmayi and I are friends and share a great rapport. She can even understand what I am thinking when I say a certain dialogue, so she is able to mimic me to the ‘t’.

You’ve said that 2012 was a rough phase, when you had health setbacks. What were your thoughts then?

I wasn’t even worried about films; I was worried about getting back and being myself. My family was a strong support. Soon after I recovered, I took a few decisions that didn’t work. Barring Attarintiki Daredi and a couple of other films, many of my projects flopped in 2013-14.

Were there lessons learnt from that phase?

That phase taught me hard-hitting lessons about the industry and people. When you fail, the whole world watches you fail. Around 20 lakh people will tell me on Twitter that I’ve failed. You’ve got to be so strong that it can get tiring. But at the end of the day, you can’t write people off, whether it’s an actor or a director.

What are the films you’re truly proud of, something that you can tell your grandchildren about?

Ye Maaya Chesave, Eega, Manam and Theri. I loved what I did in Neethane En Ponvasantham ( Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu) but not many watched it. Theri was watched by people in nooks and corners of Tamil Nadu. It’s a Vijay film and in it, I could make an impact. People connected with my part and told me they cried when I died. In these cynical times we live in, it’s not easy to make people cry.


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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 11:47:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Samantha-I-am-done-with-clich%C3%A9d-heroine-roles/article14378258.ece

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