Samantha Ruth Prabhu is a big star in the South Indian film industry and is known for her Tamil and Telugu films. She debuted in 2010 with Ye Maaya Chesave, in which her character Jessie was different from what we saw in Telugu films in those times. One may agree or disagree with the decisions she takes but one can’t deny that she is an independent thinker. I started watching South Indian films in 2015. In every film, there used to be a powerful male character. He would be shown to be smart, strong, and so impressive that the leading lady would be smitten by him and would eventually fall in love. This was the staple that I saw. Samantha’s roles have been unusual because she has been choosing characters that are more than just ‘love interests’.
The understanding of the impact of watching a film with a weak female character dawned later as I grew up and as I became more familiar with the industry. After watching the interviews of the actors and knowing their opinions (Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Nithya Menen, Sai Pallavi), I came to realize that the lack of good roles in the industry leaves them with no option but to take up whatever comes their way.
The reason for talking about Samantha is that she is a role model and I appreciate her opinions and the risks that she has taken in her career, in terms of trying out different types of films that might not do well at the box office but were genuinely nice. Films like Baana Kaathadi (2010) which has a romantic story where her character Priya is as involved and as important in the screenplay as the male protagonist. Raju Gari Gadhi 2 (2017) is a horror film in which she plays Amrutha, a girl who commits suicide after a video of hers is leaked on the internet.
So here are my top 5 favorite films of Samantha, in that order, because of the character that she plays and the appeal that storyline carries.
- Super Deluxe (2019)- This is a Tamil anthology film that stars Samantha as Vaembu, a wife who cheats on her husband and when the paramour accidentally dies in her flat, she disposes of his body with the help of her husband who decides to accompany her out of fear of the society. All stories intertwine at the end. This film is so on point with its screenplay and direction that it is a must-watch.
- Oh! Baby (2019)- This is a Telugu fantasy film that is a remake of the 2014 South Korean film Miss Granny. In this film, Baby, a 70-year-old woman returns to her 24-year-old body and gets to relive her youth. With all the songs and comedy, there is a heart-touching message which makes you emotional by the end. Overall, it is a fun watch.
- Mahanati (2018)- This film is set in the 1980s and is a biopic of the Indian actress Savitri who is played by Keerthy Suresh. Samantha plays the role of a journalist who has been given the task to report on the life of Savitri as she is hospitalized. This is a good film to watch.
- Majili (2019)- This one is a truly romantic film. Samantha plays Sravani, a devoted wife who longs for her husband’s love but also stands up for her self-respect when she thinks it is high time. All the characters in the film including Poorna, her husband, are just so vulnerable that you can’t help but empathize with them and hope that they are happy by the end of the film.
- Ye Maaya Chesave (2010)- This is the debut film of Samantha and her character’s name is Jessie, a 24-year-old woman who works for Wipro. She is the love interest of Karthik, a 22-year-old engineering graduate who aspires to be a filmmaker. The film is new in terms of many things including the portrayal of its leading lady. She has a strong personality, and she stands by her words.
Super Deluxe and Oh! Baby are available on Netflix, Mahanati is available on Amazon Prime Video and the Hindi dubbed version is there on YouTube for free. Majili is streaming on Amazon Prime Video and on Disney+ Hotstar and Ye Maaya Chesave is available on Amazon Prime Video and Zee5.
We hope that Samantha continues to do such good work and keeps inspiring movie lovers with her strong portrayal of women in films.
Jahnvi Singh is a student of Mass media at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies