I Believe In The On-The-Spot Magic That Happens On Set; I’m A 100% Director’s Actor!- says Aishwarya Rajesh

I would love to be a warrior princess, action heroine or do a fantasy film which I haven’t done yet!

Aishwarya Rajesh is a powerhouse of talent. She has proved, with every role and movie that she is one actress that can mould herself in any role, whether it is the vulnerability of Ariyanachi or the unrelenting spirit of Farhana. Time and again, she has picked movies that have a meaty role for a woman, she believes that content is king.

It’s her remarkable talent and her charming personality that the audience loves. She takes criticism into her stride and puts her entire herself into delivering the next performance. Aishwarya is one of those rare actresses who looks beyond the character, she deep dives into the person’s feelings, and nature and portrays the role with full conviction. Fitting for a performer like her, JFW presented her with the award for Excellence in Cinema at the JFW Achievers Awards 2023. In an exclusive interview with the leading, we got to know more about her movies and why she picks them :

Tell us about your next release and what the movie is about.
The upcoming movie is titled DeAr, with me and GV Prakash playing the roles of Deepika and Arjun and that’s why the name DeAr. This one is ready for release. The topic that we have taken up is that of snoring. But unlike Goodnight which was also on similar lines, this one focuses on the woman having the problem of snoring. We wanted to break the stereotype, usually in films we don’t show women in their raw, natural form. Here we wanted to show that women deal with the same physiological issues as men. It’s a newly married couple and this girl has a snoring issue and what happens then and how their life goes on after this. It’s a comedy and a family drama.
Other than that, there is an untitled film where me and Vasanth Ravi have acted together. There is another project which is a female-centric film which is called Manik, which is under post-production.

What’s your thought process while selecting films like this? Even the others that were released this year, Farhana, The Great Indian Kitchen or Theera Kadhal.
So, female-centric films in Tamil Cinema, compared to Hindi and Malayalam are less in number. Even the audience reception is comparatively less when compared to theatrical releases, OTT everyone watches. So, the content has to be different and appeal to the audience, the performance has to be really strong, and there are so many things that need to be thought of. So, content is what matters, and I look for stories that haven’t been told before. I can’t do a role where in a big movie, I play a small insignificant part. But on the other hand, if it’s a big movie and I have just a couple of scenes but I make a difference, I will take it up.

How do you feel when you get so much love and appreciation for the movies that you do?
It was very overwhelming, especially for a movie like Farhana, it was a tough role for me to take up and do. It was a complicated character and a very crucial story, not an easy one in any way. For example in Soppana Sundari, that role came very naturally to me. Even though I hadn’t done comedy before, I enjoyed doing that movie. Farhana was one such role where I had to really figure out who she is, and what’s she all about.

A scene from Farhana or a particular shoot that was challenging.
Day 1, when I have to just take a phone call. When she gets a phone call from her college mate who is getting married, Farhana turns into a college-going girl but her body language is very different. She gets married really young and has 3 children.
It was the first day of the shoot and it took me half a day to just do the phone call bit. I wasn’t able to perform but after 3 takes or so, I got it. There was so much body language involved in that scene. We worked really hard on the characterisation. So there were a lot of nuances that one had to get right.

What’s your process of prep before stepping on the set for a movie? Do you have a particular line of thought?
I don’t believe in preparing, I believe in understanding the character. But for example, in Kanaa, I had to prep and learn cricket. If there is a stunt, I have to prepare, if there is a dance, then also yes. But for a performance or acting, I believe in the on-the-spot magic that happens on set with my directors’ instructions. I’m a 100% director’s actor, no doubt. But I also improvise but with an equal partnership.

What are the kinds of roles that you wish to do but haven’t been offered yet?
I would love to be a warrior princess, action heroine or do a fantasy film which I haven’t done yet. I would love to do a strong role where I have action scenes or fight sequences.

How do you react when your movies aren’t received well?
My audience supports me when my movies are good and when they don’t like something, that means I need to work harder next time. It works and vice versa. If you are happy when they love you, you’ve got to take the criticism in your stride too. Actually, I have not done any remakes till now. The Great Indian Kitchen was the first. I was hesitant to do a remake. And I chose not to watch the entire movie, I saw bits and pieces to understand a few scenes. But I wanted to do it my way. The reason I did the film was that I wanted it to be a complete family watch. I always believe that my strength is the family audience. I won’t say that youngsters aren’t there but more families are my fans. There was one intimate scene in the Malayalam movie that I felt was too raw for my audience. So, I made a suggestion to do it slightly differently. Nimisha is a great actor but the good part is that no one really compared me with her. They only spoke about the version I did. That meant a lot to me, that I was appreciated for the efforts I put in.

A movie that you wish you had got the opportunity to do this year.
I loved Gangubai Kathiawadi, it seemed like such a challenging role. I would love to do an adaptation in Tamil, a female version of a don. It’s something that hasn’t been explored here.


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