MUMBAI — Samantha Akkineni makes her digital debut with Raj and DK’s “The Family Man Season 2.” The Web show stars Manoj Bajpayee in the lead.
Akkineni felt that signing this espionage show was an accomplishment for her. She has gone on record to say that she had watched Season one of the show as an audience member and was happy about being approached for a role in Season two.
She had told indianexpress.com then, “I couldn’t catch ‘The Family Man’s’ first season on the first day, and reviews were pouring in. It made me very curious. Chay (Naga Chaitanya) and I thought we’ll watch one episode and keep it for the week. But that didn’t happen. I saw the reviews on the first day, and I had high expectations. I think doubts were cleared moments after its release. Everyone was hooked.”
She described watching the show as a “theater kind of experience. It was like watching a blockbuster film with comedy, action. It was a complete package. I didn’t expect to watch what I watched.” She considers being approached for “The Family Man Season 2” and signing it as her “greatest accomplishment.”
Akkineni plays the main antagonist Raji, a suicide bomber, and has grabbed attention with her scenes in the show’s trailer.
“The Family Man 2” has Manoj Bajpayee in the title role with Sharib Hashmi and Priyamani reprising their roles of J.K. Talpade and Suchitra Tiwari. After a cliffhanger end to its first season, Srikant Tiwari (Bajpayee) travels to Chennai to solve a bigger and more dangerous case.
After the trailer release, a number of protests began, calling for a ban on the show since it hurt the sentiments of the Eelam Tamils and also the people of Tamil Nadu. Bollywoodhungama.com, which was the first to report about her role, stated that the Tamil Nadu Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mano Thangaraj, had even written to Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, to immediately ban or stop the screening of the OTT show.
Akkineni’s character seems to be fighting for an independent state for Ethnic Tamils, like in the 1983 conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Now, we hear that Amazon Prime Video has issued a gag order to Akkineni and has told her not to comment on the show or her role.
“There are always protests to certain characters or portrayals in films or series, this comes since the audience is only exposed to a small part of what to expect, which could look a certain way. In the case with Samantha’s character in ‘The Family Man 2,’ people have taken an objection to her character, but they have not really seen the full range of what she portrays,” a trade source told the website. “Amazon Prime Video, like most content creators, would like to avoid controversies prior to the release of their venture. The gag order to refrain from speaking about the show is exactly that, so the audience feeling and sentiments that have been hurt can be assuaged.”
Akkineni, in an interview to bollywoodhungama.com, had expressed earlier, “I am just lucky to be here and be a part of ‘The Family Man’ because that is the only thing anyone is asking me back home. ‘When is ‘The Family Man’ releasing?’ I am truly honored to be a part of this team and be a part of this show and in a dream role,” she was quoted as saying.
Director duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK had stated that when developing the script for the show they were very aware of the sentiments of the Tamil people and Tamil culture. Last week, they said in a joint statement, “Some assumptions and impressions have been made based on just a couple of shots in the trailer. Many of our lead cast members and key members of the creative and writing team are Tamilians. We are very aware of the sentiments of the Tamil people and Tamil culture and have nothing but the utmost love and respect towards our Tamil people.” In fact, the duo has even requested people to watch the show when it releases before making assumption on characters in it.
The makers stated that they had put in years of hard work into this show and have taken great pains to bring to audiences a “sensitive, balanced, and riveting story” like in Season 1.
In any case, June 4, the streaming date, is less than a week away.