Although she began her career with small budget films she is now one of the busiest actresses with a variety of roles and genres. Through her pure dedication and talent, she has become the choice of many A-list directors like Mani Ratnam, Vetrimaran, Gautham Menon, etc. This actress turns 34 today and there’s never been a day when she didn’t impress. Right from her earnest performance on screen and her exuberant candor off screen, one can’t help but root for this Chennai ponnu. Acting for a few years now, here’s a look at 7 of her best performance thus far!
The movie stars Aishwarya Rajesh, Jithan Ramesh and is directed by Nelson Venkatesan, it is about a Muslim woman from a conservative family who takes up a job at a call center and ends up in a nightmarish situation. Farhana, played by Aishwarya Rajesh, is caught between her dreams that are stifled within the large family, and the dangers of the world outside to which she has limited exposure. Though she develops an emotional connection with another man outside her marriage, the film takes the trouble of establishing why she feels the need without castigating her actions. The conflict and its resolution may have shades of the male gaze but this is still an interesting departure from conventional depictions.
2. The Great Indian Kitchen
Aishwarya delivers a powerful performance. Starting from helplessness, disgust, shame, crying, and finally bursting into tears, she has done a great job by taking on the entire responsibility of the film. The Great Indian Kitchen, a Malayalam film directed by Jeo Baby, showed the same thing, but here the perspective is reversed. It showcased the harsh reality of women—one that doesn’t involve violence, harassment, or any other domestic crimes. Here, the men suppress the women with wide smiles. This story should definitely be told, especially in Tamil households, and a remake of The Great Indian Kitchen seems like a sensible choice.
3. Ka Pe Ranasingham
One such rare actor is Aishwarya Rajesh, she makes her performances look so effortless that you fall in love with her simplicity on screen. Ariyanachi (Aishwarya) and Ranasingam (VijaySethupathi) meet when he comes to figure out the flow of water in the former’s farmland. Apart from understanding water’s flow direction, Ranasingam is also a social activist fighting for the rights of his and all the villages nearby. The highlight of this film is unbeatably Aishwarya Rajesh. Wondering why she isn’t the protagonist throughout, Aishwarya Rajesh’s struggle is felt within us. She carries the film effortlessly on her shoulders despite Vijay Sethupathi developing a protagonist character in the first half. Ariyanachi shines bright despite being the shadow, in fact, she is a shadow that shines brighter than the concept itself.
Kanaa, a difficult role but the actor simply hits it out of the park with her riveting performance, living the role in every frame. A village girl who loves her father and wants to make him happy, and so she becomes a cricketer. The discrimination she faces and the hardship she endures forms the story, with the rest of the film heavily relying on her performance. It’s easy to play the downtrodden but Aishwarya does it without the need to pander to the crowd or overplay the emotions. There’s the rare subtlety in her performance that reinforces the idea of having more women-lead films down South.
5. Dharma Durai
Aishwarya Rajesh plays a village girl who is timid and shy who falls in love with a doctor. She has a brief role but attracts us with her charming performance. As Anbu Selvi, she brings out the essence of a perfect rustic character. Experiencing heartbreak, she ends her life and this gives the movie a huge shift.
6. Kaaka Muttai
Aishwarya gained fame after Kaaka Mutta in which she played a mother of two. She was natural and flawless. The movie was a huge success and it bagged her many awards and recognition. Her performance gave life to the character and portrayed the typical life of people in poverty.
7. Vada Chennai
The bold portrayal of women in Tamil cinema oscillates between hit-and-miss; where filmmakers occasionally nail it but more often than not, stick to manic-pixie-dream-girl tropes that do nothing for the actress or her role. Her bold performance in Vada Chennai is something that could never b easily forgotten. Playing a bold North Madras girl, Aishwarya’s dialogue delivery and body language as Padma ensured she had you rapt in attention. She made the character lovable and watching her on screen was a treat.