‘I always break the rules’

Aishwarya Rajesh, who found fame in Kaaka Muttai, on how food plays a major role in her life

Updated - August 08, 2017 05:05 pm IST

Published - July 18, 2017 05:11 pm IST

aishwarya rajesh on a vacation

aishwarya rajesh on a vacation

Aishwarya Rajesh has always been a rebel. However, at the same time, she says she’s also always been responsible: She worked part-time when in high school and earned pocket money.

“While I was responsible, I was also a brat and completely against rules,” says the actor, who recently won the State award for best actor (2014) for her performance in Manikandan’s Kaaka Muttai . “I did my schooling at Holy Angels, where they had stringent rules. I coloured my hair blond and red and was pulled up by the principal.”

Aishwarya also went to a boarding school in Tirupati after her elementary schooling at Shrine Velankanni in Chennai. “I had to get used to the lifestyle at Sree Vidyanikethan International School, Tirupati; wake up at 5 am and do specific tasks at a specified time only. What I did enjoy was the different menu every day. On Sundays, we were served bread-omelette and channa, a rather unusual combination. They also used to serve fried chicken in a bowl, which I found odd,” she says, looking back at a hostel life filled with treasured memories.

“Once a month, my parents would come visiting us (Aishwarya and her brother) and my mom would bring prawn biryani. She would pack so much that I used to take it to my room later and share it with my friends.”

Family fun

Later, she returned to Chennai, and completed her schooling at Holy Angels. Growing up in Chennai was the best thing that ever happened to her, she says. “Every week, my family would go out for a movie and dinner. MGM Dizzy World used to be my favourite spot. Eating dosas at VGP Universal Kingdom was another fun activity. I never miss the chance to taste the big appalam and molaga bajji at the trade fair in Island Grounds.”

The simple life

While shooting for Kaaka Muttai in the slums of Saidapet, Aishwarya says he happened to taste locally-made food prepared by an elderly lady. “This lady used to sell dosa,vada curry and watery chutney. The taste was amazing, and whenever we got a chance I, Yogi Babu and others in the unit used to go to her shop and eat,” she reminisces.

Foreign platter

Her first overseas trips were to Dubai and Malaysia, where she explored local food.

In Malaysia, she says she loved Nasi Lemak, a Malay dish where rice is cooked in coconut milk and spices then served with sambal, dry fish and peanuts on the side.

On a trip to Bangkok with her brother early this year, she went around tasting the street food. “Eating street food in Bangkok is an experience. I tried a variety of seafood preparations.”

Aishwarya says she enjoys travelling. She recently visited Varanasi, Darjeeling, Allahabad and the Andamans. “Tasting food in all these places was a unique experience,” she says.

“I loved Varanasi, where I had a fabulous time eating the best rasmalai and rasgulla served at a streetside stall. Even curd tasted so good. In Nepal, I liked the taste and flavour of momos and thukpa,” says Aishwarya, who is presently shooting for Vetrimaaran’s Vada Chennai , at a location in North Madras.


Aishwarya says she started dieting only after entering the film world. “I have modified my diet but am not strict about it,” she laughs. “I like to eat in five-star hotels and also love street food. When I travel in Tamil Nadu for shooting, I make it a point to eat at roadside eateries and drink tea/coffee at a tea stall. I love to eat fried fish sold along Marina beach,” says Aishwarya.

At home, her favourite food is fish gravy made Andhra style, and with vanjaram (seer fish) and koduva (seabass) gravies.

However, at the end of a long and tiring shooting schedule, it is biryani that she looks forward to. “Any biryani my amma makes with raitha and salna is my comfort food. And of course, a cup of filter coffee.”

A fortnightly column

where film personalities talk

about their tryst with food

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