Hitting a home run

Tamil cinema

When Samantha had to walk out of Mani Ratnam’s Kadal and Shankar’s Ai in 2012 due to a skin ailment, her fans were in for a shock, while her critics wrote her off. Because, it’s a dream for every actor/actress to work with these two phenomenal filmmakers.

But Samantha has not just survived, but has risen like a phoenix. In the past two years, she has belted out many hits and bagged multiple awards. And what more? With films with Vijay, Surya and Vikram lined up in Tamil and with NTR Junior, V V Vinayak and Trivikram Srinivas in Telugu, the busy actress has become a fans’ pride and competitors’ envy.

Staying grounded

“I am thankful to my fans for their undying support. I am equally grateful to my colleagues in the industry,” says Sam, as she is called by her dear ones. The actress is currently working with Vijay in Kaththi, directed by A R Murugadoss, with Surya in Anjaan, helmed by Lingusamy, and with Vikram in a yet-untitled movie by cinematographer-filmmaker Vijay Milton of Goli Soda fame.

The actress, who is second after Revathy to simultaneously win the Filmfare Awards for Best Tamil actress and Best Telugu actress (for the films Neethane En Ponvasantham and Eega respectively) has also broken a jinx that Tamil-speaking girls can’t shine in Kollywood, which is usually dominated by actresses from the north. The homegrown talent (Samantha was born and brought up in Chennai) says, “Honestly, I don’t believe in trends like Tamil girls can’t make it big in Kollywood. All that I know is Tamil audiences always encourage hard work.”

So, what makes Samantha click? To this, director Gautham Vasudev Menon, with whom the actress worked in four films (Ye Maya Chesave, Vinnai Thandi Varuvaya, Yeto Vellipoyindi Manasu and Neethane En Ponvasantham) says, “She is intelligent and a quick learner. There was a stunning difference between her performance in Ye Maya Chesave and Neethane En Ponvasantham.”

Onscreen vibes

On working with Vijay, the actress says, “Though Vijay is calm on sets, he becomes a livewire the moment the director says ‘action’. He is very simple and dances like a dream. Kaththi will be an important film in my career.”

Ask her about sharing the screen space with Surya, and she explains, “He is a nice colleague. I play an interesting role in Anjaan and Surya is extremely co-operative. He is a thorough professional.”

Samantha, who is thrilled about working with a performer like Vikram in Vijay Milton’s movie, says some surprises are in store as far as her character in this movie is concerned. Last year, Tollywood witnessed two blockbuster hits — Seethamma Vakitlo Sirumalle Chettu and Attarintiki Daredi, and Samantha was an integral part of both the films. “Even while doing those films, I was sure that they would become mega hits,” says Samantha with a smile.

So, after tasting success in Kollywood and Tollywood, will Samantha try her luck in Bollywood too? “Artistes don’t have language barriers. It’s all based on the kind of offers I get. But I am happy working down south.” When asked about her choice of films, the actress reveals her secret of success. “I look for just two things — script and my role. If these two factors satisfy me, I sign the movie.”

And finally, ask her about the rumours surrounding her marriage, pat comes the reply: “I won’t hide when I get married. I will make a public announcement.”

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