When Aishwarya Rajesh agreed to do the role of a slum dweller and mom of two kids in Kaaka Muttai (KM), little did she imagine how the decision would impact her career. With the film turning a commercial hit and winning accolades in the film fest circuit as well, the small step has proven to be giant leap, career-wise.
“People’s entire perception towards me has changed. Before KM, I was just a normal heroine. But thanks to that challenging role, people now have high expectations from me. I was amazed when a senior actor like Khushbu tweeted that my performance reminded her of Smita Patil,” says Aishwarya, in a chat with City Express.
The burden of expectation has grown heavier, but she’s loving it. Apart from the accolades on social media, the industry biggies have been lauding her as well. “When Bala sir saw KM, he asked director Manikandan from where he had found this ‘Perazhagi’.
He didn’t remember that I had auditioned for his Paradesi. The fact that my performance drew his attention, now, was a huge compliment,” gushes Aishwarya.
The icing on the cake for her was the compliment that came from KM Ramesh’s real mother who said, “When you played his mom, I saw myself on screen and not you. How did you manage to do that!” Aishwarya says with a laugh, “My efforts at a realistic portrayal had many people thinking I was indeed from a slum. They told me they were surprised when they saw my presence as an actor on Twitter!”
But though the expectations have increased, Aishwarya is clear about her goals, “I’ve always wanted to do a variety of roles. I want to be the perfect actor who can do both performance-based meaty roles and glamourous ones like Simran, Khushbu and Radhika.”
Her list of upcoming releases proves her penchant for the different. “In Seenu Ramasamy’s Idam Porul Eval, I play a patti mandram (debate) speaker, a first for a Tamil film heroine I think. It’s a powerful character and I had to prepare well. I watched and imbibed the body language and diction of patti mandram speakers from YouTube. I had to recite long dialogues in pure Tamil with extensive quotes from literature. So I learnt them days in advance of the shoot. My fluency in Tamil was of big help. Director Seenu gave me lots of references to study,” she says. The film stars Vishnu Vishal and Vijay Sethupathy. Aishwarya is playing a key role in KM director M Manikandan’s next film, Kutramamum Dhandanaiyum.
In Deepavali Thuppakki, she pairs with Ma Ka Pa Anand, directed by ad filmmaker, newbie Suresh. In Sundar C’s production Hello Naan Pei Pesaren, directed by Naalai Iyyakunar fame Bhaskaran, her co-stars are Vaibhav, Oviya and Karunakaran. With so much on her platter, Aishwarya has an eventful year ahead.