Samantha Akkineni on Shaakuntalam: After a decade in the industry, I am playing my dream role

As Shaakuntalam goes on floors, Samantha Akkineni opened up on how she has been waiting to play a princess or be the lead of a period drama.

Samantha Akkineni, Dev Mohan, director Gunasekhar and producer Dil Raju launched their upcoming magnum-opus Shaakuntalam on Monday. In the ‘epic love story’, Samantha will be seen playing the titular role while Sufiyum Sujatayum fame Dev Mohan will be making his Telugu debut with the film in which he plays the role of Dushyant. Talking about being a part of Shaakuntalam, Samantha said it is a gift to her from Dil Raju and Gunasekhar as she has always wanted to play either a princess or a lead in a period drama.

“In the journey of 50 films, I have done different roles and different genres. I have even attempted action in The Family Man and have also portrayed a villain but my dream role has always been to be in a period film or play a princess,” Samantha said at the film’s launch event, which took place today.

The Majili actor stated that growing up, Disney films used to be her comfort watch, “During my childhood, if I was upset or sad, I would cheer myself up by watching a Disney film. It has been my greatest strength. Even now, those films are my go-to film.”

“At this point of my career, Dil Raju sir and Guna sir have given me my biggest gift of my career. In 10 years of being in the film industry, it is today that I am getting to play a role, which has been my dream for a very long time. I hope I am able to give 100 percent to the project, which Guna sir is so passionate about,” she continued.

The 33-year-old said that she has never been a part of a project that has no reference point. “I have never heard of such a script with so much detail. There is no reference to the film. Everything about the film is in director’s head. So, I am extremely excited to be part of this project and want to make the director’s vision come true,” she concluded.

Shaakuntalam’s writer-director Gunasekhar was all praise for Samantha and producer Dil Raju. He said when he narrated the script to the producer, he instantly got on-board to back the film.

Talking about Samantha, Gunasekhar said, “There was a lot of curiosity around who will be playing the lead of the film. When the title Shakuntalam was announced, everyone, including fans, suggested Samantha as the perfect fit for the role as she has the innocence the role needs. When I approached her for the role, she said she will love to hear the story first. When I narrated the script, she instantly gave her nod. I was so happy that she agreed to the film, was able to connect to the role and was ready to put every effort it requires.”

He informed the media that irrespective of being busy with other projects, she took out time to prepare for Shaakuntalam’s character. “She underwent classical training for four months. She worked really hard, irrespective of how busy she has been with her projects, including The Family Man. Her involvement and Dil Raju’s support has impressed me. I have no doubt that Samantha and Dev will leave an impression as Shakuntala and Dushyant, ” Gunasekhar concluded.

Shaakuntalam, a pan-Indian film, is also produced by Gunasekhar’s daughter Neelima Guna. The film’s shooting will begin next week.

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