The Malayali audience cannot easily forget Aashiq Abu’s love saga 'Mayaanadhi' and the endearing characters Mathan and Appu. Young actress Aiswarya Lekshmi announced her grand arrival as a leading lady of Mollywood, with her realistic portrayal of the gritty and lovable Appu. The actress is happy and excited that the audience is appreciating Priya too, her character in the recently released Fahadh Faasil-starrer 'Varathan'.
Aiswarya opens up to Onmanorama about 'Varathan' and her experiences as an actress:
What is 'Varathan' all about?
'Varathan' is an Amal Neerad movie, and that is the best description that can be given to it. He worked really hard to make this movie amazing. Though all of us did our parts to the best of our abilities, Amal sir had given everything for it. It is a thriller which projects the nuances of relationships. I wished to act alongside Fahadh, and I am happy that I got that chance in my third movie itself.
How is Priya in 'Varathan'?
Priya is a confident young woman from Kottayam. The character’s costume and styling too are important in the movie. If I reveal more about the role, the audience will lose the novelty when they watch the movie in theatre.
How is Amal Neerad as a director?
While I was doing 'Mayaanadhi' with Aashiq sir, a scene would be okay in just one or two takes. I thought it was like that for every movie. But Amal sir is a perfectionist. For a scene, I was asked for 36 takes to make it into a perfect one. He shoots every scene with so much care and dedication.
How was your entry into the movies?
It was through modeling that I made my entry into the movies. When one of my friends began to learn photography, I modeled for him. After that I did some TV commercials, but I didn’t have any movie plans yet. When I saw Althaf’s casting call, I just gave it a try and got the chance to act in 'Njandukalude Naatil Oridavela'.
I dreamed about pursuing a full-fledged acting career only after the filming of this movie got over. I wanted to do good movies and play amazing characters. I was really sad when the filming of that movie got over. I enrolled myself at a workshop called ‘Actor’s Truth’ in Mumbai, to learn acting. It is not possible to learn acting within just a month. But it made me really confident. I gained the confidence to do something, even if it was a blunder, with passion. In between I had taken part in the audition for 'Mayaanadhi' as well. Though I was selected to the second round, I had no plans to appear for it. It was my friend Stephy Xaviour, the costume stylist, who forced me to take part in the audition saying that it would be arrogant to miss an opportunity like that on purpose. I thought why I should do that as I was sure I wouldn’t be chosen for the role. I wasn’t selected initially, but later they called me up and told that I was chosen for the role in 'Mayaanadhi'.
I was offered the role in 'Varathan' almost two months after the release of 'Mayaanadhi'. Though I planned nothing, cinema has now become my passion and love.
What do you have to say about 'Mayaanadhi' and Appu?
While we were shooting the movie, I had asked Aashiq sir many times whether this was based on someone’s real-life story. We had so many unique and strange experiences which may seem insignificant to others. We shot the song ‘Mizhiyil Ninnum’ at 10 in the night, and everything including the rain machine was already arranged. But exactly when we canned the shot, it actually rained there. Similarly scenes were getting okay without much trouble, and the artistes were able to deliver the dialogues seamlessly. Everything seemed easy and comfortable.
Did you have any inhibition while acting in the love scenes in 'Mayaanadhi? How did your parents react?
I am my parents’ only child. I thought why I shouldn’t do such a scene, even though I was scared to do it. I was worried what the society would say if I did that. But, my greatest fear was about my parents’ reaction, but I knew they would understand if I talk to them about the significance of that scene. I did those scenes as I had trusted Ashiq sir, Syam chettan and Dileeshettan. I was sure that they wouldn’t use it as a marketing gimmick. Besides, I knew that it wouldn’t be obscene either. Those who have fallen in love at least once in their life cannot see obscenity in those scenes. My father and mother saw those scenes, and like any parents they too were upset. But they did not worry about it for so long. They understood that I acted so for the sake of the film. They still say that 'Mayaanadhi' is an incredible movie.
What sort of characters are difficult for you to essay on screen?
I think it would be really difficult to portray hyperactive characters. It would be difficult to essay the characters which are similar to mine. It is easy to play characters like Appu or Priya.
What do you value more: cinema or studies?
I believe that a doctor requires real-life experiences more than knowledge from text books. I completed my stint as a house surgeon while acting in movies. These days, a doctor has no value if he/she is not a post graduate. But more than a post-graduate degree, experience is very important. However, I wish to pursue post-graduate course as well.
What are your new movies?
'Vijay Suparum Pournamiyum' directed by Jiss Joy is my next. Asif Ali plays the lead role in it. I will be acting alongside Kalidas Jayaram in Mithun Manuel Thomas’ next. In Tamil I am playing a role opposite Vishal in a movie directed by Sundar C.