Samantha Ruth Prabhu says she has nothing but gratitude for her professional life as it has kept her grounded in the past few years that saw her battling health concerns.
The actor had revealed in October last year that she was diagnosed with myositis, an autoimmune condition that can cause muscles to become weak. She and fellow Telugu star Naga Chaitanya also parted ways after four years of marriage in 2021.
"I think there is a lot going in my life in the last two-and-half years but my work really grounds and centres me. It gives me the energy to keep going. And, I usually don’t let things affect my work, unless I am unable to get out of bed, which was the case for the last few months.
"I am grateful that all the production (people) waited and they showed such support and it was very helpful for me to get to the state of getting better and going back to shoot,” the 35-year-old told star told PTI ahead of the release of her film "Shaakuntalam".
Samantha, whose credits include Telugu and Tamil films such as "Eega", "Mahanati", "Mersal", and "Super Deluxe", and Prime Video series "The Family Man 2" in Hindi, said the epic love story of Shakuntala and King Dushyant should connect with the audiences through its complex human emotions.
"With this film, there is intense pressure but I believe if the film is good, it will be accepted very well by the audience. It is more than just grand sets, great designs, costumes and grandeur,” she said.
"Shaakuntalam”, written and directed by award-winning director Gunasekhar and also starring Dev Mohan, is based on poet Kalidasa’s acclaimed Sanskrit play “Abhigyan Shakuntalam”.
Samantha believes the story is still relevant and has a contemporary vibe to it despite its mythological origins.
"It is a movie that is rich in our culture, it's been in our books, but at the same time it is made in a contemporary fashion, so it is relatable and at the centre of it, it is a love story, everyone loves a really good love story. There are enough reasons, like the magical world, the animal characters, there's a beautiful world that is created. It is meant to be enjoyed by families,” she said.
The actor said even her character of Shakuntala, who challenged societal norms back then, will strike a chord with women.
"Even though it was written in as early as the fifth century, her beliefs like going against societal norms, and the way she faced adversity with grace and dignity, is still aspirational, it is still relevant. It is something that even a contemporary woman of today, looks up to.”
Speaking about her idea of love, Samantha said she feels blessed to be surrounded by people who often love and encourage her in moments of weakness.
“Love doesn’t always have to be with the partner, it is all around us. There is so much love to give. In fact, I am more enriched with love these days and I felt it a little stronger especially in moments of great weakness.
"I never needed picking up before and I needed picking up now off late. There were people who picked me up, and I felt true love. I am very grateful for it.”
Sachin Khedekar, Kabir Bedi, Dr M Mohan Babu, Prakash Raj, Madhubala, Gautami, Aditi Balan, Ananya Nagalla and Jisshu Sengupta round out the cast of “Shaakuntalam”.
The film will be released on April 14 in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada. It is presented by Dil Raju via Sri Venkateswara Creations in collaboration with Gunaa Teamworks and is produced by Neelima Guna.