Worshipped by his fans across the globe for his antics, superstar Rajinikanth has a critic at home in his own daughter, who feels he goes over-the-top in some of his films. “I am one of his biggest critics. I feel that some of his movies are a bit over-the-top,” says Aishwarya R Dhanush, who keeps reminding him the same, without sounding harsh. She was speaking at the launch of her debut book “Standing On An Apple Box” yesterday at India Habitat Centre here.
The book is a semi-fictional memoir of the good, bad and ugly of being the daughter of one of the most celebrated actors of the Indian film industry. The foreword has been penned by Shweta Bachchan, daughter of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, who was also present at the launch.
Aishwarya has dedicated the book to the “star kids” who have “managed to retain their sensibility and sanity,” despite being in the spotlight. “People should understand that this comes with its own pros and cons. We are under constant scrutiny, and people expect only perfection out of you,” she says.
Talking about the bond that her father and her actor husband Dhanush share, the director-writer says there exists a mutual admiration between the two, both on personal and professional terms. “Dhanush has been a fan of my father since his childhood. They share mutual respect for each other. Also, the fact that Dhanush made it big on his own and not because he is someone’s son-in-law is something my father deeply admires,” she says.
A mother of two, she says she has made sure to keep her children away from the spotlight, in order to let them lead a “normal childhood”. “They are only allowed to watch their father’s or grand-father’s films, besides animated movies. In fact, they
hardly know about any star other than their father and grand-father. This is deliberate. “I don’t want them to limit themselves with this profession. Because, that should not happen by default, but out of interest. I would love to see them become a scientist for that matter,” she says.
Aishwarya, who always wanted to be a filmmaker, says it was an early experience from a film set that inspired the unique title of her book. “Apple box is a film industry term. I wanted to be a filmmaker since the very beginning, and when I was young, I stood on the apple box to reach the camera lens.
“I guess that was one incident that changed the way I saw see the industry. Because it was magic when you see it through the lens. So, the title of my book had to be this,” she says. About her father’s reaction to the Rajinikanth jokes trending on social media, she says the actor “enjoys and laughs at them”. “It is beautiful, cute and quirky in its own way. Yes, he definitely laughs at them. It is like people thinking of you in every dramatic situation, which I like to call ‘affectionate humour’,” she says.