The signature of correlated electron materials (CEMs) is the coupling between spin, charge, orbital and lattice resulting in exotic functionality. This complexity is directly responsible for their tunability. We demonstrate here that the broken symmetry, through cubic to orthorhombic distortion in the lattice structure in a prototype manganite single crystal, La(0.69)Ca(0.31)MnO(3), leads to an anisotropic magneto-elastic response to an external field, and consequently to remarkable magneto-transport behavior. An anomalous anisotropic magnetoresistance (AMR) effect occurs close to the metal-insulator transition (MIT) in the system, showing a direct correlation with the anisotropic field-tuned MIT in the system and can be understood by means of a simple phenomenological model. A small crystalline anisotropy stimulates a "colossal" AMR near the MIT phase boundary of the system, thus revealing the intimate interplay between magneto- and electronic-crystalline couplings.