Aishwarya Lekshmi: Food is what brought me to movies – News
The Malayalam actress was in Dubai to promote her fantasy film Kumari
Photo by Naveen Mohan
Medically trained, Aishwarya Lekshmi made her foray into Malayalam cinema by accident. Now, after spending five years in the industry, the doe-eyed beauty has an impressive filmography to her name, including the magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan 1 which was released last month.
The 32-year-old was in Dubai to promote her latest film Kumaria mythological fantasy film. City hours caught up with her to talk about her career, her upcoming projects and the stuffed omelet she’s coming to Dubai for!
Tell us about your entry into Malayalam films.
Food is what brought me to cinema. I had just completed my final MBBS exams and after years of grueling study I decided to take a week off to have some fun. I went to Kochi to explore food and try new dishes. While eating meatballs at Café Seventeen, I saw the casting call for a film directed by Althaf Salim with Nivin Pauly and applied on a whim. that is how Njandukalude Naatil Oru Idavela happened in 2017. I never wanted to be an actor. However, after that movie, I realized what a terrible actor I was and wanted to be a better actor. So I started watching more movies.
You have now performed in different languages in India including Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. What was your experience in different industries?
Besides the production value and the scale of the movie, I feel like every movie is about humans, their emotions and their struggles, which is very universal. This is the realization that has come to me lately. During my early years in the industry, I used to say no to movies in other languages, thinking how could I perform in a language I didn’t know. Now that I’ve grown as an actor and become more aware of the filmmaking process, I’ve found the confidence to tackle films in other languages and I enjoy it.
How much did you grow as an actor, according to you?
I would like to believe that I have become better. I realized the priorities I have to set as an actor and as a person. When I started acting, the only goal I had was to get the next role because that was important to me as an actor. But now I realized the importance of content. How much the films I make matter to audiences and how it can impact their lives. So now my priority is how to get the next topic that will matter to the audience. It’s about bringing an entertaining or enlightening subject to my audience. So it’s no longer about showing off my acting skills. It’s about showing a movie or a character that the audience will love and sympathize with.
What was the filming experience like for Ponniyin Selvan 1 and the star cast?
I felt like I was living a dream. For me, it all boiled down to one name: Mani Ratnam. I always wanted to be in a movie with him, ever since I wanted to be an actor, which as I mentioned happened after my first movie. I had watched all of Mr. Mani’s movies and there was a subconscious prayer that I said “Oh my God, please let me be in a movie of his movie, even if it’s for a shot”. When I got the call for the movie, I was super excited. I was offered the role of Vanathi but after the readings and look test I was cast as Poonkuzhali who was Mani sir’s muse for over 40 years. I loved this character after reading the books, so I was absolutely thrilled.
The whole experience of shooting the movie from the start was a great learning experience for me. From how each actor played, how they prepared for the role, how they are on set, and what they did to make sure they gave their best in everything. he does, whether it’s acting or promoting the movie, I’ve watched it all and learned a lot from it.
Aishwarya Lekshmi with Shine Tom Chacko in Kumari
Tell us about your connection to Dubai.
My best friend Jyothika stays here so I love coming here and spending time with her. I come here very often, and I also applied for the golden visa. My favorite thing to do in Dubai is to eat. I’m a foodie so I shop around and try different cuisines. I also like the nightlife here. I’m not talking about clubs or parties, but even walking around the city at night is so beautiful. I even have a guilty pleasure when I come here. You’re going to laugh at me, but it’s actually something called Denny’s Wild West Omelet. It is stuffed with cheese and lots of other vegetables. As an actor, I have to be very careful about what I eat, but this dish is my guilty pleasure. I never eat a stuffed omelet anywhere else in the world. I’m just saving it for Dubai.
Tell us about your last outing Kumari?
For me, the most intriguing thing about the screenplay of Kumari was the world it was set in. As a child I loved to watch Manichithrathaazhu. I love stories about things we can’t see. So as soon as I read the script, I loved it. It is based on Malayalam folklore and ancient beliefs.
Kumari is an immersive experience. She’s the titular character but we built this whole world around her. The cinematography, the music, the cast, everything together gives a unique experience. When people watch it, they will be transported to a completely different world. It’s a very theatrical experience
I watched the movie with the audience at Shenoy Theater in Kochi and it was a very different experience. At times there was a mind-boggling silence and at other times there were whispers of ‘oh, what happened’. Then there was applause during the highlights of the film. It was a great viewing experience for me.
Kumari is now playing in theaters in the United Arab Emirates.