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Aishwarya Lekshmi on Poonkuzhali and master craftsman Mani Ratnam | Entertainment Interview

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The tide at Kodikarai beach was calm. Small boats and fishing boats are slowly making their way toward the white sandy shore. If you walk beyond the sand, you can see the forest. Dark clouds were gathering in the sky.

A small boat is rocking on the sea. Poonkuzari is playing a beautiful melody there. Chentan Amudhan was right about her.When she sings, the sea and wind become quiet to hear her sing.

Aishwarya Lekshmi had taken the Poonkuzhali part of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel to heart thoroughly before auditioning for Mani Ratnam’s film. Her preparations had in mind the sheer gem the filmmakers created in Indian cinema. . When she googled Mani Ratnam’s latest project, she found out that his new film is ‘Ponyin Servan’. Aishwarya immediately picked up Kalki’s book and started reading. And that journey led to Poonkuzari.

“When we arrived in Chennai for the screening test of the film, there were a lot of artists lined up.Many technicians like Thotta Tharani, Ravi Varman, Ekalakhani were present along with Mani Ratnam. Mani Ratnam was 40. The look test of the movie that has been nurtured in my mind for years was nothing short of an emotional moment for me, and the people around me were telling so many stories. I read that I even visualized it.

“First, they gave me a look test for a character called Vanati. They gave me a very intense dialogue scene where my expressions and body language had to match accordingly. What if I emphasized something?What Sir Mani told me would give better results.He also said I could improvise more when shooting.It’s my heartbeat. Does that mean I’m in a movie?And here I am, ready to be part of Mani Ratnam’s movie, even if it’s just a passing shot. Finally, Sir said I was chosen as Vanasi.I will never forget that moment.Then came the actual climax for me.After that look test, my heart was like,” Vanati is not your personality.” It somehow stuck in my mind. When Jagame Thandhiram was filming in London, Mani got a call from his sir manager. He started the conversation by saying that he had good news for me. I immediately asked him if I was Poonkzari. I was so excited. I knew I wanted to do that character. I was told I could go back to India and do a look test, but I was in a hurry and flew to Chennai.” It was the thrill of acting.


“After Poonkuzari’s look test, Lord Mani said to me, ‘Poonkuzari is sexy and confident in her beauty. That’s the only way to shoot her. You’re happy with that fact.’ I will shoot you.” It mattered little to me. By that time, I had transformed into Poonkuzhali. A strong woman who crosses the ferry alone.Many men are in love but with her and she is only in love with Ponyin Selvan. To me, she seemed like one of our earliest feminists.” I observed.

After that, she made an effort to physically transform into Poonkuzari, and also learned how to swim and row.

Master craftsman called Mani Ratnam

I learned discipline from that set. We’re on a huge movie set where all the artists have a great deal of respect for each other. It was a very collaborative process. We all worked together to make the film better. They worked as a single unit. Manisaa is a masterclass! Lord Mani is my guru in my opinion. I’ve never seen him put off a scene or shoot it the next day because of time or other issues, and I’m not sure if he could make another movie with him. Hmm. But I will always have the invaluable lessons I learned from him.