“Do you have any sense?” The reporter who approached Samantha Ruth Prabhu at Tirumala Tirupati temple on On Sept. 19 wouldn’t have expected this question from the actress. He apparently wanted a quick bite about the rumours of Samantha’s split from Naga Chaitanya.
She snubbed him outright stating that she had come to worship at the temple. It was the talk of the town the entire day as her fans mercilessly trolled the reporter.
Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Sam for fans, is a leading South Indian actress with blockbuster hits in Tamil, Telugu cine worlds. With the webseries The Family Man, Samantha who played the role of Raji, the militant antagonist, is known among the North Indian audience too. Her divorce and how she has conducted herself may well show that a new era of heroines is now firmly on. Nayanthara may have started the era and Trisha may have built on it, but it is Samantha who is taking it forward – the three are known to be confident, real, and making bold choices.
The media personnel who know her in Chennai, however, recall only pleasant interactions. She was down to earth when it came to media briefings, answering all the questions with a smile. Not many press meets she addressed though; she will give equal importance to every media individual. She posed for photos with all the media persons during the press briefing of Super Deluxe.
Samantha is in the news of late over her failed marriage and divorce. Talks are rife in the industry that she was offered Rs 200 crore by the Akkineni family as a one-time alimony but it is said that the actress has refused. While Samantha has not spoken about it, it would be in character if she has indeed refused the alimony, sources who know her say.
Samantha has carved a place for herself in the Tamil and Telugu film industries. She neither hailed from the families of cine stars nor did she have a background in the cine world. She was a commoner from Pallavaram in Chennai.
Born in 1987, Samantha was a diligent student right from school days. She studied at Stella Mary’s College, Chennai. She is photogenic and talented and had big aspirations right from the beginning. Industry insiders say that she used to appear as a receptionist at wedding events before her career picked up. She also concentrated on modeling.
After coming across some of her modeling pictures, cinematographer Ravi who was venturing into direction with Moscowin Kaveri approached her for the lead role. She grabbed the opportunity with both hands but the movie was delayed. Her breakthrough came when Gautham Vasudev Menon cast her in Ye Maaya Chesave. It was made as Vinnaithandi Varavaya in Tamil in which Trisha, Samantha’s friend in the industry, played the female lead.
The film was a huge success both in Tamil and Telugu. She next appeared in Baana Kaathadi opposite Atharva. It was a sleeper hit and Samantha’s cine journey slowly gained steam.
The 34-year-old actress has acted with all leading heroes of the Tamil and Telugu industries within a decade. Her notable works include Anjaan, Theri, Kathi, Neethane en Ponvasantham, Mersal, 10 Endrathukkulla in Tamil and Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, Attarintiki Daredi, Manam and Rangasthalam to name a few in Telugu.
In spite of all the name and fame, she remained down-to-earth. Approachable and friendly in the sets, she would be flexible and professional so the film project would succeed.
At the same time, she is a gifted artist in front of the camera. She wouldn’t go for many takes when it came to her scenes, industry insiders say.
Samantha portrayed an LTTE woman cadre in the web series The Family Man. The portrayal and the plot did not go well among some outfits in Tamil Nadu. Industry sources say that she was scared of such opposition but she did say that she could literally feel the pain of Sri Lankan Tamils when she acted in the role.
In her personal life, Samantha started dating Akkineni Nagarjuna’s son Naga Chaitanya after working with him in Ye Maaya Chesave. They were engaged in 2017 and got married in Goa, the same year, in a wedding that had both Hindu and Christian rituals. Unlike other actresses who withdraw after the wedding, Samantha continued with her career.
Her career actually got a boost after her marriage. She started playing women-centric roles, starting with U-Turn where she played a young intern with a leading English newspaper. She followed the trend to act in more women-centric and bold roles including the unfaithful wife in Vijay Sethupathi starrer Super Deluxe.
Samantha started Pratyusha Support Foundation in an effort to give back to society. She was inspired to start it when recovered from a disease that kept her bedridden for 15 days. Industry sources say her philanthropy was the spark for Naga Chaitanya to fall in love with her. The love story which started with great chemistry did not last long though.
In July this year, Samantha removed Naga Chaitanya’s Akkineni surname from her social media handles. Not long after, she was seen spending more time with friends than appearing in the functions of the extended Akkineni family.
On Oct. 2, the couple took to social media and announced their divorce. Trolls had a field day but Samantha had much support on social media.
On Oct. 8, she took to Twitter again with a soulful note. She thanked everyone for showing empathy and defending her against all sorts of rumours including her affairs. A divorce in itself is an extremely painful process. Let alone allowing the time to heal, the attack on her was relentless. But she promised she will never allow this or anything else to break her. “She is a typical next-door girl who never carried the weight of stardom around her. She is a self-made woman. For all the good we know of her, it is a mystery why the marriage did not work out?” added a source