The 30-year-old Aishwarya Rajesh is a household name already for Telugites as she was seen in Tollywood movies like Kousalya Krishnamurthy, Mismatch, and World Famous Lover. She has proved her acting prowess in various languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. She also made a debut in B-town in 2017 but she is popularly known for her blockbuster films in Kollywood.
Though she has a film background with father, grandfather and even her aunt comedian Srilakshmi, who were all established actors, Aishwarya can still be called as a self-made lady who worked hard without any recommendations or support. She started her career as an anchor back in 2009. In a TedX talk at IIM Trichy, the actress spoke explicitly about her struggles and the challenges she faced.
She started with her childhood days that she was brought up in a housing board in Chennai. Aishwarya lost her father and actor Rajesh at the age of 8 and it was her mother who made sedulous efforts to raise her four children and the actress was the youngest. Aishwarya said that her mother was not educated and she used to procure sarees from Mumbai and sell in Chennai.
Later, her mother became a LIC agent and also worked intermittently in real estate. “Even now, she tries selling LIC policy to my co-stars,” Aishwarya said (laughs). The actress called her family’s fate as unlucky. Continuing her speech, she said her eldest brother died when she was 12. She said he was in a relationship and her family is still in dilemma if he committed suicide or was murdered.
She continued that even her second brother passed away in a road accident with a few months. Losing two children, Aishwarya’s mother was left devastated and it was the actress who stepped forward to take care of her family. So, in her intermediate, that is, at the age of 16, Aishwarya joined her first job to promote a chocolate brand outside a supermarket and she was paid Rs 225.
However, Aishwarya always dreamt big and she went on to become an anchor in some reality TV shows. She also participated in one of the popular dance shows and won the title. She entered movies to be financially stable but, this I not the end to her struggles. Aishwarya recalls all those bad experiences she had to face like sexual harassment, trolls, mean comments on her dusky tone and looks.
Her debut in Tamil, Avargalum Ivargalum didn’t do well and she tasted triumph after director Pa Ranjith’s Attakathi film. And, she became more famous with Kaaka Muttai where she played as a mother of two young boys in a slum. With all these hits and critically acclaimed films, the actress was still left behind with not getting any big offers alongside famous heroes. Her fate turned when she did Kouslaya Krishnamurthy aka Kanaa with Arunraja Kamaraj, where she played as a cricketer.
With this women-centric film, Aishwarya said that she got a handful of offers and even heroine-centric films. She concluded that if she can do all these, anybody can do it. She urged every woman who is facing sexual harassment to come out and voice their struggles. She motivated audience by saying “I have struggled by myself all my life and one should never give up”.