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Samantha Akkineni says The Family Man was ‘scary, risky’ for her: ‘Thought it would flop badly or…’

Samantha Akkineni expresses her gratitude for The Family Man season 2 after her performance in the series won her 'the best actress' in a series award at the Indian Film Festival Of Melbourne (IFFM).

Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 27, 2021 8:25:44 am
Samantha opens up about her character in The Family Man 2.

Actor Samantha Akkineni took a gamble when she decided to play the role of Rajalekshmi Sekharan/ Raji in The Family Man season 2. As she had usually remained within the confines of a quintessential heroine, it was quite a surprise to see her as a trained LTTE operative, living undercover in Chennai. “I have been put in this ‘cute girl’ slot. I thought this role would flop really badly or work really well. It completely hinged on the performance. It was very scary and risky for me,” Samantha told indianexpress.com.

Indeed, it is safe to say that her gamble paid off. Her performance as a deadly assassin, who is hardened by the bloody civil war of Sri Lanka, became one of the highlights of the series. One moment she is a helpless woman vulnerable to exploitation. The next, she is a lethal force, who can kill without thinking twice. “I never expected so many people to call and message me (to appreciate my performance). I got calls from people who never called me before,” she added.

Samantha received unanimous praise for performance and she is expected to walk away with several awards. The first of the accolades, was when she recently bagged the Best Actors award at the Indian Film Festival Of Melbourne (IFFM).

“I don’t think I would sign anything thinking it will get me awards. I sign roles that I really believe in. The roles that I believe will make me a better person. But, the awards are always welcome as they have always inspired me to do better. In that way, I’m thankful for awards,” added Samantha.

Samantha Akkineni Samantha Akkineni in The Family Man season 2. (Photo: Amazon Prime Video)

While Raji is simmering with murderous rage and lifetime trauma, she is not one for talking much and is just focussed on her deadly mission. The character had minimal speaking lines, which was more of a challenge for Samantha. “I was given the role of a trained fighter with not much dialogue. So I had to make sure that I physically looked the part even though I am small. The body language and the physicality of the character was something I really worked on. It needed to look like not much thought was put into Raji’s mannerisms but actually, I put a lot of thought into it,” she added.

The role was physically taxing and was a test of Samantha’s strength and endurance. She had to perform all the stunts herself while making it look effortless and stylish. “I watched a lot of real-life footage and documentaries. That really helped me. Also, I worked with a bunch of great teams, including directors and stunt persons. Stunt master Yannick Ben has an amazing style of fighting. It was very, very unique. And I wanted to imitate his style. I don’t think he thought he had a particular style in the way he moved and fought,” she said.

Samantha feels quite liberated in the space that has been created by the OTT platforms. “OTT has been a really welcome change not just for actors but also for technicians. It is blurring the line between all the industries. It has become an amalgamation of all good talents. Audiences are also lapping up all kinds of content. One doesn’t need to worry about whether an OTT movie/series is commercial enough or romantic enough. You have so much opportunity to put out what you believe in and have an audience that will appreciate it,” she added.

However, at the same time, she also believes the unique experience of community viewing is not going anywhere. “It is something that India will never let go of,” she opined.

Samantha also suggested that as she is in a new phase of her career, she is more inclined to make some  unconventional choices. “I always made choices based on how I get better at what I am doing. Improvement comes when you accept complex and layered roles. Human beings are very complex creatures. We are not just black and white like most of our heroes and heroines in commercial cinema. I am looking for roles that explore the life in between,” she signed off.

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