Malayalam actress Aishwarya Lekshmi won the award for Emerging OTT Star for her performance in Kaanekkane at the inaugural OTTplay Awards held in Mumbai
Last Updated: 08.40 AM, Sep 15, 2022
It’s been a whirlwind past couple of years for Malayalam actress Aishwarya Lekshmi. With her first three films becoming superhits in the box office, the doctor-turned-actress was hailed as a lucky mascot. But it wasn’t just sheer luck that worked for her, Aishwarya managed to play strong characters in movies such as Aashiq Abu’s drama-thriller Mayaanadhi and Amal Neerad’s Varathan, that the audience couldn’t ignore her talent even when pitted alongside actors such as Tovino Thomas and Fahadh Faasil, respectively.
But the pandemic year had been tough for actors in the industry, especially those who were just finding their footing. It halted their momentum and had many questioning their choices. Aishwarya, who shared the Best Emerging OTT Star (Female) with Sarpatta Parambarai’s Dushara Vijayan at the inaugural OTTplay Awards, in her winning speech underlined the importance of the award and that too for a film like Kaanekkaane.
The movie marked her first film post-pandemic, “after being jobless for almost seven months”, she said in her winning speech. “Kaanekkaane is a very important film in my career. I got an opportunity to be back in front of the camera with the film and it also made me realise why I was doing what I was doing, that’s acting,” she said.
Aishwarya, played Sneha George in the film – an independent woman who gets into a relationship with a married man and later marries him after the death of the latter’s wife. It wasn’t an easy character to choose, much less play.
In an earlier interview with us, Aishwarya said, “I was sceptical because the ‘other woman’ was always shown in a negative light in our films. Nobody has really explored her point of view, her vices and virtues. I was actually advised not to do the role at this point in my career.”
Till then Aishwarya’s filmography didn’t include playing a single character with grey shades. “I haven’t had any training in acting and neither do I know too much about cinema; I learn with each movie and as an actor, I have understood that I am not happy when I take up films where I don’t have much to do. So, when such a relevant subject comes my way and I am not courageous enough take it up, I thought I was being stupid,” she said. The choice paid off with the actor being lauded for her performance in the movie.
For her, it’s more about connecting with her characters rather than going through the process. “From Mayaanadhi, I understood the kind of thought process that is required to perform a character. I have been using the same in every film,” she said. “I am still an actor who cannot take in too much of a process; if I prepare beforehand and then act, it becomes evident that I am acting. I believe in spontaneity. I get the energy from the sets, the costumes and my co-actors, and I find happiness in doing that.”
Before Kaanekkaane, the actress was also part of another huge Tamil release on Netflix – Dhanush’s Jagame Thandhiram. Post that she went on to star in a segment titled Nizhal Tharum Idham in Amazon Prime Video’s Putham Pudhu Kaalai: Vidiyaadhaa. “Its director Richard Antony pushed me to an extent that I found a better actor and person in me,” she said at her speech at the OTTplay Awards in Mumbai, after being handed over the trophy by acclaimed Tamil filmmaker Pa Ranjith.
Since the pandemic, the actress has also worked in several other industries. She was the lead actress in Arya’s sci-fi film Captain, had co-produced and played a cameo in Sai Pallavi’s Gargi and also made her Telugu debut with Godse.
Her next theatrical release is Mani Ratnam’s magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan, in which she plays the character of Poonguzhali aka Samuthirakumari. “It’s definitely a dream come true for me. Most often, you don’t get what you wish for, but in my case, I got exactly what I wanted. It’s a big deal for me to be in a Mani Ratnam film, irrespective of how big or small the role is. Thankfully, I got a big role,” the actress had earlier told us.
Aishwarya’s star power in Malayalam too has been on the rise. She had shouldered her first film as a solo lead earlier this year with Archana 31 Not Out and is next gearing up for her second such movie with Nirmal Sahadev’s Kumari, a mythological horror drama. The actress has also completed shooting for her second Telugu movie Ammu, which has Naveen Chandra and Bobby Simha, and is set to release directly on Amazon Prime Video. She is also part of Vishnu Vishal’s Gatta Kusthi in Tamil and Mammootty’s Christopher in Malayalam. This year’s OTTplay Awards winner for Emerging OTT Star is definitely going places.