With close friends and family members descending at W Goa, Vagator Beach on 5 October, the festivities continued all the way till 7 October night when the couple walked down the aisle for a picture perfect wedding that reminded many of a similar scene from their first film Ye Maya Chesave
While Samantha just could not stop gushing that she’s getting married to her longtime boyfriend Naga Chaitanya, her family members, including Nagarjuna and Chay’s uncles – Venkatesh and Suresh Babu – shook a leg much to the delight of all the guests at the venue.
A few days before her wedding, when we spoke to Samantha about her wedding, films, and everything in between, she said, “I have always wanted my wedding to be a private affair with only close friends and family members attending it. It was important for both Chay and me to see people smile, laugh, and have a good time. And what’s the point in having a lavish wedding where you don’t even know how each one of the guests felt at that moment (smiles). Besides, our wedding is just a formality because in our heads, we are already married to each other (laughs).”
Earlier this year, when the duo got engaged, the actress made heads turn when she wore a gold-embroidered beautiful off-white sari, designed by Kresha Bajaj. For the wedding, she had other plans. “There was nothing more from my love story left to be told through my outfit for the wedding,” Samantha quipped, adding, “Besides, I was shooting and dubbing for my films all the way till 2 October. It was almost like going to Goa on an extended weekend to get married (laughs).”
2017 has been a mighty busy year for Samantha. While she did not have a film release in the first eight months of the year, she has been juggling between the sets of her Telugu & Tamil films, including Raju Gari Gadhi 2, Mersal, Rangasthalam, a film each with Siva Karthikeyan and Vishal, apart from handling her NGO – Pratyusha – and working closely with the Telangana government to create an ecosystem to revive handlooms sector in the state. Subsequently, in August, Samantha announced that she’ll be launching her flagship store Tweave, where everything will be sourced directly from the handloom weavers from Telangana.
So, how exactly is she managing all this? Samantha puts it in perspective saying, “I kept hoping that as years go by, I would become less ambitious. But that hasn’t happened at all (laughs). Coming from a humble beginning, this is more than what I can ever dream of, and I’ve often thought about calling it a day. But that isn’t happening. I think it’s never been about the bank balance. I just feel I can do more and better. I am not able to satiate that feeling and that’s what keeps pushing me every single day. Also, the level of talent around me inspires me. I’m very realistic in that sense and I can appreciate the talent around me. I was bowled over by Sai Pallavi’s performance in Fidaa and after watching the film, I even stated that I would watch any film if it has her name in it. Since I know how well others are doing, I try to be better in terms of my own performance. Moreover, there’s plenty of time in between shots on a movie set, so I try to dedicate all that time to doing something that I’m good at – whether it’s sustainable fashion, Tweave, apart from focusing on Pratyusha.”
It’s been more than eight years since she made her debut in Telugu cinema and starting from Yem Maya Chesave to her recent films like A…Aa and Janatha Garage, Samantha has seen staggering highs in her career. And in recent times, she has managed to make a difference to society in real life as well through a series of social activities.
All this and a lot more makes us wonder if she has opted out of the rat race in the industry and focus on more important issues. Samantha nods in agreement with this perspective and says, “Now, I wonder why I didn’t do these things earlier. Why did I focus just on films? Because there’s so much more that I could do and explore. Now, I’m in a race with myself, honestly. There’s only so much that I can do in 24 hours and my friends keep making fun of me that I don’t really know how to have fun. For me, having fun is akin to working more and harder. That’s my high. Last year, after Janatha Garage’s release, I had a gap of one month and it was around that time that I put all my business plans into action. Since then, I have been working on films and all those plans side by side.”
From being an actress in films to leading a company, it has been a big learning curve for Samantha, and by her own admission, she is still learning to lead by example. “I work on everything, everyday (laughs). There are days where I doubt my own plans and wonder if it’ll work or not because I’m literally starting over all over again. First it was the movies, and now, after eight years of not being new to anything, I find myself in the midst of all these new stuff in my life. To being the head of a company, to be a leader, to organise things… it’s all very new to me. This year has been a complete new learning experience. Besides, until now, I’ve been hands on involved with each and every aspect of Tweave, right from the gift box which we sent out for the launch in August to talking to the weavers. I find it very difficult to delegate work. With films, you are the only one who’s in-charge of your life; so you decide what you want to do and get on with it. But with all these other companies, you’ve to be able to delegate…I find it very difficult to trust anyone else with decisions. I’m slowly changing my ways (laughs). It’s been very challenging because I have been shooting and also organising the launch of Tweave, working with weavers, designers, understanding the government’s rules, planning & marketing. On top of all this, I had to plan for my wedding. It’s been a mad year,” Samantha confesses.