Samantha Akkineni: Wanted Raji's portrayal to be balanced, nuanced and sensitive in The Family Man season 2
The actor reflects on her Sri Lankan Tamil rebel character in The Family Man season 2
Samantha Akkineni is picking up praise for her powerful antagonist turn in The Family Man season 2.
In the new series, out on Amazon Prime Video, Samantha plays Raji, a former Sri Lankan Tamil rebel living in Chennai.
After an extradition move between India and Sri Lanka goes horribly wrong, Raji and a small group of rebels are forced to reband. This sets them at odds with Srikant Tiwari, the show’s titular spy played by Manoj Bajpayee. Srikant is ‘TASC-ed’ to track Raji down and foil the rebel’s plans.
In a long Instagram post, Samantha reflected on her journey of working on the show. “Reading all the reviews and comments fills my heart with so much joy... RAJI will always be special,” she wrote.
Samantha said she knew playing a character like Raji required ‘sensitivity and balance’.
“The creative team shared documentaries of the Tamil struggle that included stories of women in the Eelam war. When I watched those documentaries, I was aghast and shocked by the troubles and unspeakable grief that the Tamils of Eelam went through over an extended period of time."
The lack of public awareness about the conflict troubled Samantha.
"I noticed that the aforementioned documentaries had only a few thousand views and that is when it dawned on me how the world just looked away when tens of thousands people of Eelam lost their lives. And, lakhs more lost their livelihood and their homes. *Countless many* continue to live in faraway lands with the wounds of the civil strife still fresh in their hearts and minds," she wrote.
Raji's story, though fictional, is a tribute to those that 'died because of an unequal war', Samantha feels.
“I was particular about Raji's portrayal being balanced, nuanced, and sensitive. I want Raji's story to be a stark, much-needed reminder for us, more than ever before, to come together as humans to fight hate, oppression, and greed. If we fail to do so, countless more will be denied their identity, liberty, and their right to self-determination,” she ended the post.