|Alma mater||Ethiraj College for Women (B.Com)|
|Years active||1996 (child artist)|
|Relatives||Sri Lakshmi (aunt)|
Manikandan Rajesh (brother)
Aishwarya Rajesh (born 10 January 1990) is an Indian actress who works predominantly in Tamil films along with Malayalam and Telugu films. Aishwarya is a recipient of four South Indian International Movie Awards, one Filmfare Award South and one Tamil Nadu State Film Award.
Aishwarya started her career as television presenter in a comedy show called Asatha Povathu Yaaru?. After winning the reality show Maanada Mayilada, she was cast in the film Avargalum Ivargalum (2011) and came into prominence after starring in Attakathi (2012). She has received Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Actress for the 2014 film Kaaka Muttai. Aishwarya had her career breakthrough roles with Vada Chennai (2018) and her solo film Kanaa (2018). For the latter, she won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress – Tamil She made her Malayalam debut with Jomonte Suvisheshangal (2017), Hindi film debut in 2017 with Daddy, and Telugu debut with Kousalya Krishnamurthy (2019), which was a remake of Kanaa.
Aishwarya received praises for her portrayal of a struggling married woman in World Famous Lover (2020), a woman who strives to bring her deceased husband's body back in Ka Pae Ranasingam (2020), an NRI in Republic (2021), a cop in Thittam Irandu (2021) and a dancer in The Great Indian Kitchen (2023).
Early life and education
Aishwarya Rajesh was born on 10 January 1990 in a Telugu family in Chennai (then Madras). Her father Rajesh was a Telugu film actor. He died when Aishwarya was 8 years old. Her mother Nagamani was a dancer. Her grandfather Amarnath was also an actor, while her aunt Sri Lakshmi, is a Telugu comedian with over 500 films to her credit. She is the youngest of four siblings, of whom two elder brothers died during her teenage years.
Aishwarya was brought up in Chennai, and she described her background as "lower middle class." She did her schooling in Shrine Vailankanni, Chennai, Sree Vidyanikethan International School, Tirupati, and Holy Angels Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School, Chennai. In 1996, she performed as a child in the Telugu film Rambantu.
She studied at Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai and graduated with a B.Com degree. She started to learn dance since she needed to choreograph a stage show for a student cultural fest and later entered the reality show Maanada Mayilada on Kalaignar TV. She won the show's third season and got offered roles in films thereafter.
Debut and early work (2010–2015)
In the early stages of her career, Aishwarya also worked as an anchor on the sets of the TV show Asathapovathu Yaaru. In 2010, she was cast in her first film Avargalum Ivargalum (2011) although Neethana Avan (2010) released first. Her first big hit was the critically acclaimed Attakathi in 2012, where she was cast as Amudha, a simple village girl, by Pa. Ranjith in his debut as a director. In 2014, she was seen alongside Vijay Sethupathi in two films, Rummy, and Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, released within two weeks. While the first film was a village drama set in the 1980s, the latter was based on a short film of the same name, and revolved around an old man and his vintage car Premier Padmini. Critics praised her performances, especially in Rummy. Hindustan Times wrote that she was "extremely promising" while film critic Baradwaj Rangan noted that she was "expressive", calling her "a tonic for nerves frayed by the alabaster automatons we usually get as heroines". Later that year, she appeared in a song sequence in R. Parthiepan's Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam and as the female lead in Thirudan Police. In April 2014, she began filming for Seenu Ramasamy's Idam Porul Yaeval, but the film remains unreleased as of May 2020.
Her first release in 2015 was Kaaka Muttai. Initially, she was very hesitant to play a mother role at such an early stage in her career, but, after seeking advice from her Pannaiyarum Padminiyum co-star Vijay Sethupathi and after gaining interest in the script herself, she decided to be part of the film. Her portrayal of a slum dweller and mother of two children was lauded unanimously by critics and is regarded as one of "100 Greatest Performances of the Decade" by Film Companion. Critic Baradwaj Rangan wrote, "it features stunning performances from everyone...especially Aishwarya Rajesh, who plays the kids' mother with a world-weariness that belies her years". Other reviewers stated that she was "excellent", played her role "with extraordinary ease" and that she "leaves you awe-struck". That year, she also made her stage debut, playing Cinderella from the same-titled fairytale that was adapted as a "musical dance drama".
Success and expansion (2016–present)
Aishwarya had the most releases for a Tamil actress in 2016 with 8 films out of which Aarathu Sinam, Hello Naan Pei Pesuren, Manithan and Dharma Durai were commercially successful. She was critically appreciated for her performance in the films Dharma Durai and Kuttrame Thandanai, where she collaborated with Kaaka Muttai director Manikandan. She became the number one choice for acting in performance oriented roles in the industry. In 2017, Aishwarya made her entry in Malayalam films acting in two commercially and critically successful films Jomonte Suvisheshangal and Sakhhavu. Based on her performance in Kaaka Muttai, Arjun Rampal selected Aishwarya in the role of Zubeida for the film Daddy. With this, Aishwarya made her debut in Hindi and was recognized for her performance in her first Hindi film. In 2018, she completed shooting for Idhu Vedhalam Sollum Kathai. The film remained unreleased as of April 2020.
She starred in her solo film as a cricketer in Kanaa under Sivakarthikeyan's production. She reprised her role in the Telugu remake Kousalya Krishnamurthy, which marked her lead Telugu debut. She starred in sister roles in Namma Veettu Pillai and Vaanam Kottatum. She played a village belle in World Famous Lover. She played a woman who lost her husband in Dubai in Ka Pae Ranasingam. Regarding her performance, a critic noted that "Aishwarya Rajesh is a revelation. She displays hopelessness, powerlessness, vulnerability, grit and determination with ease and impressive conviction".
Subsequently, she performed in leading roles such as Thittam Irandu (2021), Boomika (2021) and Driver Jamuna (2022). The action thriller, Run Baby Run (2023) with RJ Balaji has received positive response. While, The Great Indian Kitchen (2023), Aishwarya Rajesh saves the Tamil remake of the brilliant family drama.
S Subhakeerthana of The Indian Express noted, "Aishwarya Rajesh’s carefully thought-out and prudent choices reflect on her filmography." For the actress performance in Kaaka Muttai, S Saraswathi of Rediff.com said that she was the film's "biggest surprise". News18 India noted, "Be it nailing exceptional roles or mesmerising the audience with her dialogue delivery, acting comes naturally to her." Aishwarya is known for her strong women portrayals in films such as Kaaka Muttai, Kanaa, World Famous Lover, Ka Pae Ranasingam and The Great Indian Kitchen.
Aishwarya has frequently featured in Chennai Times' 30 Most Desirable Woman list. She became the Chennai Times' Most Desirable Woman in 2018. She ranked 13th in 2017, 2nd in 2019 and 6th in 2020. Aishwarya ranked 3rd in Rediff.com's "Top Tamil Actresses" list of 2015. She received the Kalaimamani award in 2020, for her contributions to the Tamil cinema. She has also spoken about her childhood, sexual harassment and more on TedX talk in 2020 at IIM Trichy.
|†||Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|1996||Rambantu||in a song scene||Telugu||Child artist|||
|2010||Neethana Avan||Nandhini||Tamil||Credited as Aishwarya|
|Kathai Thiraikathai Vasanam Iyakkam||Herself||Cameo appearance|
|2015||Kaaka Muttai||The Mother|
|2016||Aarathu Sinam||Mia Aravind|
|Hello Naan Pei Pesuren||Kavitha|
|Dharma Durai||Anbu Selvi|
|Parandhu Sella Vaa||Madhavi|
|2017||Jomonte Suvisheshangal||Vaidhegy Perumal||Malayalam|
|Gemini Ganeshanum Suruli Raajanum||Pooja||Tamil|
|Daddy||Zubeida Mujawar / Asha Gawli||Hindi|
|2018||Lakshmi||Nandhini||Tamil||partially reshot in Telugu|
|Chekka Chivantha Vaanam||Renuka Thyagarajan|
|Kousalya Krishnamurthy||Kousalya Krishnamurthy||Telugu|
|Namma Veettu Pillai||Thulasi Ayyanar|
|World Famous Lover||Suvarna||Telugu|
|Ka Pae Ranasingam||Ariyanachi Rana Singam||Tamil|
|2023||The Great Indian Kitchen||Wife|||
|Run Baby Run||Tara|||
|Pulimada||Mahishmathi Emily Jayaram||Malayalam|||
|Theeyavar Kulaigal Nadunga †||TBA||Filming|||
|Ajayante Randam Moshanam †||TBA||Malayalam||Filming|||
|2007||Asatha Povathu Yaaru||Host|
|Maanada Mayilada||Contestant||Season 3; Winner|||
|2022||Bigg Boss Tamil 6||Herself||Guest appearance|
|2023||Cooku with Comali (season 4)||Herself||Guest appearance|
|2018||"Bodhai Kodhai"||Sanjith Hegde||Gautham Vasudev Menon|||
|2022||Suzhal: The Vortex||Nandini||Tamil||Amazon Prime|||
|2019||The Lion King||Nala||Tamil||Dubbed version|||
Awards and nominations
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