South India’s leading actor Samantha Akkineni pours her heart out on MX Player show Famously Filmfare. Here are excerpts from the conversation:
How did Ye Maaya Chesave happen?
Gautam Menon was auditioning newcomers for the film. I had no confidence as I heard people even from Mumbai are coming to audition for the role. There were 200 auditions for Jessi. They called me. But I did not go. Then someone from the director’s team called me. I thought maybe it is my fate and gave it a try. My audition was taken by Gautam Menon himself. And it was in a language I did not even know. I didn’t know even one Telugu word.
I was given a thick script for the character. After the film released, one critic wrote that this girl has the best debut one can ask for and her performance is so good that you can feel it in her. You can see her trembling when she is nervous. And I was like, I wish it was acting because I was actually shivering of fear. I could not believe that someone actually noticed the tremble.
Remember the gate scene which is seven minutes long? Without a cut, I had to say Telugu dialogue for seven minutes. In the scene, I had to drag him out. I was actually squeezing his hand really hard out of fear. We have come such a long way.
How was Naga Chaitanya on the sets?
He was very very helpful. I think that experience 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.
Did he know that you have a crush on him?
There is no way he did not know. It was obvious.
How was working on Manam?
I still remember we would have breakfast with Chay’s grandfather (Akkineni Nageshwara Rao) when he would tell us about his life and even joke around with us. I had only that one opportunity to be around him. I am grateful for the experience.
There was a rumour that Nagarjuna got to know about Chaitanya and you during Manam shoot.
No no. Back then, we would discuss Chay’s girlfriend at that point in time. I would give him (Nagarjuna) full information.
Did you get them to break up?
They did that to themselves. I did not even need to intervene. (giggled)
Why did you two have a small wedding?
We just had 120 people as guests. Both Chay and I wanted a small wedding. I wanted to remember every moment of my wedding and the smile on every person’s face.
When did Chaitanya propose?
In December, he asked me to marry him. In January, we got engaged.
And you said yes the very moment?
Of course. He was the man of my dreams.
And why was that?
I think Chay is perfect. He is what every girl dreams of. I hope he doesn’t see this interview.
There is a rule at Akkineni house that after 6 pm, no one is supposed to talk work at home?
I think that is very good. For me, that is the best change. It has helped me a lot personally also.
What are your goals?
I am ambitious, but I always wanted a home, a family and a baby.