From an employee in a supermarket to hosting events to becoming an actress, Aishwarya Rajesh has come a long way.
Words: KOMAL MEHTA
She was neither spotted in a coffee shop by any director, nor was her first film a blockbuster. Unlike most known names in the industry, Aishwarya Rajesh did not have a fairy tale beginning in her career. As a teenager she started working in a supermarket as a part-time employee. She also distributed pamphlets of new products at Tidal Park. Aishwarya liked multi-tasking and managed to do all this even while she was in school. “But the desire to earn more, say, something like `25,000 per month, kept haunting me. So, when someone told me that serial artistes were paid well, I wanted to try it out. But when I got an opportunity, finally, I was paid only `1,000-`2,000, whereas a few other artistes were given up to `20,000. Later, I realised that only film actresses, who turned into serial artistes, were paid huge sums. That’s when I seriously started thinking about becoming a film actress. I felt that I should become a film actress first, and then come back to serials and earn good remuneration from it,” she adds.
Aishwarya recalls how she auditioned for almost every production house before her debut. She adds, “The funniest part was that after every audition, the production house people would tell me, ‘You are the heroine’. Overwhelmed by their words, I would come home and tell my mom that, I’m going to be the heroine of some four or five films. But during the film’s puja, someone else would be announced as the heroine.”
While she was struggling to be a part of the industry, she passed in one of the auditions and got her debut film, Avargalum Ivargalum.
She even managed to get a small role in Attakathi and these were the films after which her career began taking shape. In 2014, she was seen in Rummy, and Pannaiyarum Padminiyum where her acting skills were highly appreciated.
The Struggle Continues
Aishwarya Rajesh also acted in critically acclaimed projects, Manikandan’s 2015 film Kaaka Muttai. Though the film shattered box-office records, she did not get offers for more than a year. She muses, “That one year, without any job, was the toughest time of all my trials so far. I decided to be patient and strong. Once again, I started waiting for good roles to come my way. Then, my period of waiting was over, and I again started getting challenging character roles.”
Tide Turned Towards Her
In 2016, she had eight film releases. Out of these, Manithan, Dharmadurai, and Kuttrame Thandanai did extremely well at the box office. From here, she started trying different genres and won many hearts. In 2017, she stepped into Mollywood and Bollywood as well. Her career took a new turn when she was chosen as the pair for Nivin Pauly in Sakhhavu. She was also paired opposite Dulquer Salmaan for Jomonte Suvisheshangal. Her Bollywood flick, Daddy marked her debut in Hindi Cinema. “In Daddy, my character arc spreads over almost 40 years. I’ve used prosthetic make-up with the guidance of an Italian make-up artiste. I feel very confident and empowered before the camera, after working with Arjun Rampal,” she adds. The achievement is something she is really proud off. The critics also appreciated her performance.
The year 2018 has been a busy one for Aishwarya. Two of her big films due for release are Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam and Vetrimaaran’s Vada Chennai. She will also be seen in Raja Kamraj’s sports drama Kanaa. She shares, “Kanaa is a rare opportunity; it’s about women’s cricket and they’ve trusted me with this film. I trained for nearly four hours every day with three coaches. And yes, I can now play a decent game of cricket.”
She won praises not only for her acting skills, she even voiced her concern on matters like industry salary disparity and other pressing issues.