Mollywood heart throb Aishwarya Lekshmi steps into Kollywood!
She is a doctor by profession who accidentally stumbled into the field of modelling and later found her calling in Cinema. Her entry into Mollywood in ‘Njandukaludey Naatil oru Edavela’ opposite Nivin Pauly, won her much critical acclaim for her performance. It didn’t take long for her to don bold character oriented roles in super hits like Mayaanadhi, Varathan and Vijay Superum Pournamiyum! We can expect a few more super entertainers from this young star, who is now gearing up to step into Kollywood. RITZ has a candid chat with the bold and the beautiful, Aishwarya Lekshmi.
Interview: Riya Sonny Datson
Photography: Shafi Shakkeer
Styling: Smiji K T
Makeup: Samson Lei
Costume: T&M, Men in Q
Jewelry: M.O.D Signature Jewellery
Footwear: Steve Madden
Venue: Kochi Marriott
From Medicine to Modelling, the transition was unintentional but when did you realise that Cinema is your calling? Would you go back to Medicine?
Medicine was the choice I had made. My entry into modelling was totally unplanned and Cinema was an added bonus. But now, everything is going well, so I feel this is my calling. I am happy doing Cinema, am thinking over new projects and am eager to do better roles. So I feel this is how you realise that somethings are meant to be. I haven’t given up medicine totally. It is a service and I would like to go back to it later in life. I don’t think it’s a part time job that can be taken lightly, so when I start practising medicine, I want to dedicate my time to it completely. Right now, I have the wonderful opportunity to do Cinema and I would like to pursue that.
Since you are from a different background, did you undergo any training in acting?
I have done a one month course in acting but everyone knows that one can’t really learn acting. The course can subconsciously give you the confidence to act, which is what it has done for me. I have not had any godfathers in Cinema but I have had some good friends, who have been my strong pillars of support, especially when I was going through difficult times. My friends, Govind Vasantha, Ranjini, Stephy Xavier, Gautham Ramachandra and Nivin have been my strength.
Tell us about your very first audition experience…
I don’t remember my very first audition as I have done multiple auditions for ads. For Cinema, my first audition was for Njandukalude Nattil Oru Edavela, which was a very pleasant experience. After seeing my photographs, the director was confident that I was fit for the role. He explained that it was a very subtle role in a good film which didn’t require very heavy duty acting. Since it was my first movie, I felt it was the perfect platform to start off with, as I wouldn’t be judged for my acting skills. I had to audition for my introduction scene in the film, which was very easy. So there was absolutely no tension as I was assured that I fit the role perfectly.
Acting seems to come very easy and naturally to you…how do you prepare before a role?
I draw inspiration from actors who I look upto and people around me generally. But I think, the most important factor for me is the director and script writer. I rely a lot on my directors’ instincts as they have a very clear idea about the script and each role in the movie. I feel that once you are in the situation, wearing the costume, with the characters around you, you automatically start to think about how you would react. When we were shooting for Varathan, we were in Vagamon and it was extremely cold, which triggered my migraine. So the parts where I am doing intense scenes, are the ones when I am actually under a lot of pain and pressure and that helped my performance. I also discuss roles with my seniors and co actors who always give me cues on how to do better.
Were your parents ok with your choosing cinema as your career?
Shifting from medicine to any other profession was not something my parents were happy about. When I was studying, there was no other career option that neither I nor my parents wanted. So, cinema was a big change and my parents were a bit upset. But now when they see my work and know that I am happy, they seem to have accepted it.
How has life changed after 3 super hits? Do fans chase you for selfies?
At the work front, I am getting busy with projects so I am very happy about it. Off screen, people don’t really recognise me so it doesn’t bother me. But whenever they do, I have only had pleasant experiences so far. Fans come and tell me about how much they like my movies or my performance and that it is very heartening and I feel great about it.
Cinema can be very demanding emotionally and physically. How do you stay afloat especially emotionally?
They say there is a light at the end of every tunnel. I strongly believe that God will help me out of every difficult situation and I believe in my mother’s prayers. It is not just Cinema, I know that I will always bounce back after a setback. So if I am at a low point, I know that it’s a phase and that I will be ok soon, so that thought keeps me going.
What has been your biggest challenge while facing the camera?
My biggest challenge would be to not repeat the characters I have portrayed. Right now, all my roles have been that of a bold urban woman. When you are starting out, it doesn’t matter that the roles are similar but slowly you realise that you get into a typecast and I want break out of it now. I will be donning different roles in my future projects and I am really looking forward to it.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed while acting with seasoned stars like Nivin, Tovino, Fahadh and Asif Ali?
The best part about working with them is that they are all amazing actors and wonderful human beings. When I met each of them for the first time, I had my fan girl moment for the first few days. But the fact is that they are all very down to earth and so focussed about work, that it is extremely comfortable to converse or work with each of them. I feel the better the actor, the easier it is to work, because we will buckle up and try to do put in our best.
You have had to portray some bold scenes in Mayaanadhi, which was your second movie. How did you handle it?
I went through a whole lot of emotional turmoil when I was doing that scene. I was scared about how people would perceive me. I was not confident, I remember crying before and after the scene, it wasn’t easy at all. But I trusted my director, my script writer and my co actor. It was the trust factor that kept me going. I needed to prove myself as an actor and I knew that ‘Mayaanadhi’ was the script for me. I am really looking forward to working with Ashique Abu again. I was really tensed until the movie released and I started to see the reviews. Looking back, I am thankful that I did that movie.
Would you do it again?
Yes, if the script is as good or better than Mayaanadhi.
Do Social media trolls affect you? Do you feel like you are being judged all the time?
If it’s a good troll, I am happy, if not, I am not happy (laughs). I have made my peace with the fact that I will be judged about what I say. But I have my life. If I have to say something, I will present it in the best way possible.
There is a lot of unrest in Mollywood today. Do you think there is a need for change when it comes to rights of women?
I am a new entrant in the industry. So far, I have been given the best of facilities wherever I go and treated in the most decent way possible. There have been arguments but I have also been listened to. The industry I am seeing now is very pro woman. It is unfortunate that such an incident has happened but I am sure that there is a change now. Especially after the incident, whenever we are shooting late, I have always been escorted back home safely after the shoot. People are taking an effort to make things better for women. The only people who need to be worried are the ones who have ulterior motives.
Tell us about a memory from a film set that will forever be etched in your heart.
There are a lot of memories but yes, the last shot of Mayanadhi is the most memorable one. When we were about to do it, Shyamettan told me that he is not going to tell me what to do. It was a monologue and I was asked to do it instinctively. I was paranoid. Until then, I was being handheld in each scene and all of a sudden, I felt as though I was been pushed into the open sea! But I managed to do the scene well and was so satisfied and happy that it almost seemed like I had finally graduated!
I would like to do a travel related story or a script that is based on a father daughter relationship, play a character who is challenged, do a character of a rural girl, who cannot stand up for herself.
What has been the most difficult scene that you have portrayed thus far?
The scene in Varathan where I am falling off the hill after the accident. As I was rolling down the hill, I literally scratched myself everywhere. It was very scary because I had no control once I started rolling. I ended up with bruises all over my body the next day.
In the entire movie, you are being harassed and eve teased by men. Have you had any such experiences in real life?
Yes, of course. I am sure most women would have gone through it but I have experienced it most during my early teenage years. I think the worst experience was when I was grabbed inappropriately while praying at Guruvayoor. It has made me more aware of what is around us. If I have a daughter, I will be more careful when she reaches her teenage years. But I am sure I will react if something like that happens now.
Beauty and fitness regime:
Right now, I am not following any regime but I was working out for my last project. I realise that working out is very important not just for your health but also for your beauty. Am very conscious about fitness and I do take the effort to stay fit. When it comes to beauty, I use minimal makeup. Sunscreen is something that I swear by. Apart from that, I try to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
Describe yourself in three words: Happy, Emotional and Funny.
What is next in the pipeline?
Argentina Fans Kattoorkkadavu is my next release opposite Kalidas Jayaram. The movie is directed by Midhun Manuel Thomas and I am playing the role of a rural girl who is a liberal Muslim. I have managed to break away from the urban girl stereotype in this movie and am really looking forward to its release. I have also signed a tamil film with Vishal and Tammanah that is being directed by Sundar C. I will be starting work on a Malayalam project called ‘Bother’s day’, which is Prithviraj Sir’s next movie.
- Food Craving: Nutella
- Favourite Perfume: Ralph Lauren woman
- My proud possession: My first car!
- Can’t do without: Love
- Dream Holiday: Turkey
- Relationship Status: Single
- Last Read: Pyjamas are Forgiving By Twinkle Khanna
- Interests Outside of movies: Sleeping
- Three things always in my bag: Perfume, Lipstick, Mobile phone
- Motto in Life: Be happy whatever happens