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Sunday, May 09, 2021

Happy birthday Samantha Akkineni: Actor-entrepreneur-Instagram icon, this leading lady means business

At 34, Samantha Akkineni is not just an actor but an influencer and a fashionista who speaks her mind. Here's exploring her life as an actor and beyond it on her birthday.

Written by A. Kameshwari | New Delhi |
Updated: April 28, 2021 2:13:02 pm
Samantha AkkineniSamantha Akkineni celebrates her birthday today. The actor turns 34. (Photo: Samantha Akkineni/Instagram)

Samantha Akkineni is not just a pretty face. The actor has different facets to herself. On her 34th birthday, we explore her growth as an actor, her influential social media presence and how, eventually, she has created a brand for herself, which complements her on-screen persona.

Unconventional career choices

When Samantha started off her career in 2010 with Ye Maaya Chesave, a Gautham Menon’s directorial, she instantly made a place in the audience’s heart as Jessie. If that was a stepping stone for her, Eega became a film that brought her under limelight. The SS Rajamouli-directorial was just the beginning. Later, her film A Aa amplified audience’s expectations from her. And maybe it is the pressure of the expectations that made her challenge herself and offer variety to her audience.

Her films

In the past five years, we saw the actor experimenting and taking chances with her films. In 2017, Samantha delivered back-to-back hits with Raju Gari Gadhi 2 and Mersal. She continued the success in 2018 with blockbuster Rangasthalam, Mahanati and U Turn. U Turn, a multi-language thriller film, was perhaps her first thriller and a film that hinged completely on her. While a film being lead by a solo female actor is not new to South’s film industry, for Samantha success of U Turn proved that her popularity is her own and not dependent on a famous male icon. She again went against her image with Super Deluxe and Oh Baby! Her popularity is such that in Majili, when she made her entry in Chaitanya Akkineni’s film, people whistled and threw money, a treatment usually reserved for superstars like Rajinikanth, Vijay and others male A-listers.

OTT debut

In 2020, Samantha took a leap of faith and made her debut on the OTT platform with a talk show titled Sam Jam. The show,  streaming on Aha, was a hit. In fact, the episodes where she hosted Allu Arjun and Naga Chaitanya garnered immense love.

Bollywood debut via web series

Not just OTT debut, in 2020, Samantha announced her Bollywood debut with the second season of the much-awaited The Family Man. In the series, which stars Manoj Bajpayee in the lead role, Samantha will be seen performing action, something she did not explore in films till now. “She spent a lot of time working out, chiseling her body and increasing her fitness. In a way, she was getting trained for martial arts,” Raj and DK had said on Samantha’s Sam and Jam show.

“There were days when Nagarjuna used to punch on screen, and we used to think that’s how action should be done. And now, we feel the same about Samantha. So, Sam you are giving competition to the men out there,” they concluded.

Television debut

Samantha showed off her hosting skills much before Sam Jam started streaming on the digital platform. She was seen filling in for her father-in-law and actor Nagarjuna Akkineni for a special episode of Bigg Boss. “Never thought I’d be on the Big Boss stage as host! Only because I was given this responsibility by my Mamagaru.. I could find the strength to overcome my fears … the fear that I had no experience hosting , the fear of Telugu .. I had never even watched an episode before 😊.. (ended up doing a marathon 3 days before the show) Thankyou mama for helping me overcome my fears and trusting me with this 😁. And I really need to thank all of you for all the love I received after the episode. I was jumping with joy,” she wrote on Instagram.

A woman of voice

They say, with power comes responsibility, and Samantha sure understands that. The actor, who is at the peak of her career, has never failed to speak her mind on different occasions. For her, her social media platforms are not mere mediums to promote brands or films but also to address the on-going issues. Be it encouraging women to share their MeToo stories or to support co-actor in moments of distress, Samantha makes her point clear.

One such example is from the time when Indian film industry was shook with MeToo movement. Samantha tweeted in support of all the women who suffered abuse of any sorts. “I am so happy that more and more women are finding the strength to say # MeToo. Your bravery is commendable. I am sorry though that some people, even other women themselves will shame and burden you with the question of proof and doubt. Just know that you are saving many little girls with your voice. Thank you. I support the #MeTooIndia movement,” the actor tweeted.

Recently, Samantha also called out people who expect actors to have an opinion on everything. She titled the video as, “We’re entertainers, Not fact-checkers.”

The Family Woman

Samantha married into Telugu film industry’s biggest family. She married Naga Chaitanya after dating him for a couple of years. Naga Chaitanya is Nagarjuna Akkineni’s son, who is legendary late actor Akkineni Nageshwara Rao’s son. Samantha married Chaitanya in 2017.

On a show, Samantha called Chaitanya “perfect” and narrated how and when she fell in love with him. “He was very very helpful. I think that experience (of working on Ye Maaya Chesave) took me from being very naive, weak and not knowing to be capable, strong and understanding myself better. He was a part of the journey. That experience nobody else shared with me other than Chay, so he just had to be my husband. I fell in love with him there. That is when I decided I will marry him.

He knew I liked him. I became very dependant on him. So, it took eight years to come on the same space because I really liked him and he was not in that space. There were times when we wanted to work it out, but there were many factors. It took a long time for us to be in the same space.”

On the other hand, in another talk show, she said Nagarjuna “is the bible on how to live your life.”

But her life is not just about her husband and her in-laws. Hash, her paw-friend or child (as she calls it), is the most special being in her life, and her social media posts are proof. Here’s a look:

Beyond films

Samantha started Pratyusha Support foundation in 2012 to provide medical support for women and children with the help of three doctor friends. She provided the financial support for the programme. She has often involved herself in the philanthropy work. During the 2015 Chennai floods, Samantha was situated in Hyderabad for the shoot of a film, and helped mobilise the Mana Madras Kosam initiative organised by the Telugu film industry. Through the initiative, she participated in gathering relief materials at Ramanaidu Studios and appealed to the Telugu-speaking public to help gather resources to send to Chennai.

The actor also has an online fashion brand and an educational initiative. Earlier this year, Samantha announced her association with Isha Foundation.

Fitness freak

After her films, family and philanthropic work comes Samantha’s dedication towards fitness. Not just her roles, we see her experimenting even in the aspect of fitness.

Finally, on a concluding note, it wouldn’t be wrong to call Samantha an all-rounder. Here’s wishing the star a very happy birthday.

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