Samantha Ruth Prabhu (born 28 April 1987) is an Indian actress and model. One of the most popular and highest-paid South Indian actresses, she has established a career in the Telugu and Tamil film industries, and is a recipient of three Filmfare Awards.
Samantha was born and raised in Chennai to parents of Telugu and Malayali ancestry, and as an undergraduate pursuing a degree in commerce, she worked part-time on modelling assignments. She soon received offers for film roles, and made her acting debut in Gautham Menon’s critically acclaimed Telugu romance film, Ye Maaya Chesave (2010), which fetched her the Filmfare Award for Best Debut Actress and a Nandi Award. Samantha then became the second actress ever to win both the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress and the Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress in the same year, for her performances in the films Neethaane En Ponvasantham (2012) and Eega (2012). Since then, she has primarily opted to appear in the leading female role in hero-centric Telugu and Tamil films, earning box office success with Dookudu (2011), the family dramas Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu (2012) and Attarintiki Daredi (2013) and AR Murugadoss’s Tamil action film, Kaththi (2014).
Alongside her acting career, Samantha is a prominent celebrity endorser for brands and products, while she also started her own NGO, Pratyusha Support, to provide medical support for women and children in 2012. She donates her earnings from endorsements, product launches and inauguration events to support the foundation.
Samantha began her professional film career with Gautham Menon’s Telugu film, Ye Maaya Chesave (2010). The film, simultaneously made in Tamil as Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa (2010), created much anticipation prior to release, due primarily to the first-time-collaboration between Gautham Menon and composer A. R. Rahman. The actress successfully auditioned and was signed up for the project in mid August 2009 and worked on the film in India and the United States, while the film was released on 26 February 2010. Post-release, she revealed that Menon played a “crucial part in moulding her as an actress”, teaching her how to remain natural and comfortable in front of the screen, even if she had no dialogues in a scene. In the film, Samantha played the lead character Jessie, a Malayali Saint Thomas Christian girl living in Hyderabad, with whom the male protagonist, played by Naga Chaitanya, falls in love. Upon release of the film, Samantha received very positive reviews for her portrayal, with the film itself garnering much critical acclaim.