Samantha Akkineni, who has already cemented her name in the Tamil and Telugu film industries, received pan-India exposure as she made her OTT debut with The Family Man Season 2. Like her audience back home, she enthralled a larger audience and has found a new fanbase and recognition among them. Another feather on the cap for the Super Deluxe actress was winning her first award for the web series at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne where she walked away with the Best Performance (Female) in Web Series Award.
Talking of what the win means to her, she said, “I’m happy especially since this is my first award for a web series and one that has done phenomenally well. It feels good to suddenly have a newer audience, and for my work to have been seen a lot further than it did before.”
She also expressed that she is glad she made her digital debut at this time. “With OTT, you have the opportunity to take more risks. Because the audience’s appetite is different. It’s not the typical commercial film where you need to follow a standard pattern. Here you try diff things that are new and exciting and I am very glad that I chose it. It is the right time to enter OTT and to be part of web series,” she said.
“OTT really blurs the line between industries. So not just actors but techniques, directors, DOP has now gotten new opportunities and they don’t have to be restricted anymore,” she added.
However, even with the popularity of over the top platforms, it is not a common sight to see leading ladies debut in the web space, that too with a series. On being asked what made her take this risk, Samantha answered, “I don’t think I let my star image make my decisions for me. I have always been an actor that wants to do newer, edgier, and demanding content. I go wherever that is being offered to me and if that is in a web series then I will go as well.” The actress also added that with The Family Man’s success, she is open to doing Bollywood films and is willing to accept any challenge, in whatever language it is offered to her, as long as it is new.
Talking of challenges, Samantha is also one of the actresses in Tollywood who have been successful in leading a women-centric movie, Oh! Baby, despite the difficulties. She said that if no one is giving them opportunities, it is time to create one for themselves.
On being asked whether it has become easier for the South Indian actors to lead a women-centric film without the presence of a male lead, she answered, “It is definitely more difficult because when as a female actor you do a film that is female-driven, you just have to make sure you bring something new and exciting. You have to do a lot more to see the audience in the theatre. It is always going to be a challenge but I and a lot of heroines like Anushka (Shetty), Nayanthara, Keerthi Suresh are pulling the audience to the theatre just their own and I think it is an exciting time for us when we are getting more confident and wanting to do more. We are ready for the challenge to create content for us because nobody is giving us these opportunities so it’s time we create them for ourselves.”