RTIwala Reveals: The Jayalalitha statue in Coimbatore created a volley of questions and remarks. Born on Feb 24, 1948, she was a renowned character actor and has worked for Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi movies. Jayalalitha died due to cardiac arrest on December 5, 2016.
Jayalalitha: Early Life and Struggle
Jayalalithaa was born on 24th February 1948 in Mandya district of Mysore in Karnataka to Jayaram and Vedavalli, a Tamil Brahmin Iyengar family. She was given the name of her grandmother Komalavalli at the time of birth and she adopted the formal name ‘Jayalalithaa’ for school and college purposes. Her mother Vedavalli learned shorthand and typewriting to take up a clerical position to help support the family. Also upon the insistence of younger sister, she worked in a commercial firm in Madras and began dabbling in acting. Jayalalithaa remained under the care of her mother’s sister Padmavalli when her father died, leaving her at the age of two.
She attended Bishop Cotton Girl’s School in Bangalore where she stayed with her aunt and use to visit her mother in summer vacations. She was an excellent student and won a government scholarship to pursue higher studies. She also won Gold State Award for coming first in 10th standard in the state of Tamil Nadu.
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1] Like mother like daughter
Jayalalithaa followed her mother’s footsteps and worked as a child actor. At the age of 15, she played a leading role in the Kannada film Chinnada Gombe, which was a big success. Later on, she worked with iconic MG Ramachandran, one of the Tamil Nadu’s greatest actors and also a former Chief Minister of the State
2] A trained classical dancer
Jayalalithaa was a trained classical music and western classical piano dancer. She was well versed in Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, Manipuri, and Kathak.
3] Became beloved ‘Ammu’ for friends and family
She was referred to as Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) and was lovingly called as ‘Ammu’ by her family, friends, and co-stars.
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4] A peak of her film’s career
She even starred opposite Bollywood superstar Dharmendra in one Hindi film Izzat in 1968. It is said that her male co-stars never objected if the story was female-centric one in the film. Her film’s career was at peak during 1965-1980. She became one of the highest paid actors of India and did around 140 films of which 120 were blockbusters.
5] Bond with MGR led her towards politics
Jayalalithaa gave many successful films opposite MG Ramachandran this forged a bond between them. MGR was the then chief minister of Tamil Nadu who introduced Jayalalithaa to All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in 1982 and she became the party secretary.
6] Many controversies and a first-term jail couldn’t make her fall
When political career started from 1984 when she got elected as the member of Rajya Sabha, the year when MGR was hospitalized. She faced many crucial elections but managed to win Lok Sabha and Legislative assemblies comfortably. She was arrested for throwing a lavish wedding for her adopted son Sudhakaran, signing controversial land deals and mismanaging funds etc. She was disrobed by DMK MLAs in Tamil Nadu Assembly; it was at that time she faced a setback but was able to return with a bang by winning a sweeping victory in1991 and became the chief minister for the first time.
7] A name in the Guinness Book of Records for wrong reasons
Despite all the good deeds, her name was once got registered in the Guinness Book of Records. After becoming the CM for the first time she threw a lavish wedding for her ‘foster son’ Sudhakaran. It is recorded that over 1,50,000 guests were invited to the wedding at a 50-acre ground in Chennai.
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