Celluloid to CM of Tamil nadu: a fairy tale story of J Jayalalithaa

Nagpur: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, after suffering a cardiac arrest passed away on Monday. The 68-year old has been in the hospital for last three months being treated for a prolonged lung infection.

Widely known as ‘Amma’ and Puratchi Thalaivi by members in her party; also called as Selvi J. Jayalalithaa, was admitted to the hospital on 22 September with complaints of fever and dehydration. Jayalalithaa was ‘Ammu’ to her family – a family known for its good looks and fair skin. She was a bright girl and always seen with a book in hand, with an ambition of becoming

Jayalalithaa debuted in Tamil film industry with ‘Venniradai’ in 1965. The film holds a notable place in the history of Tamil cinema as it was the first film to be rated ‘Adults Only’ since 1951. Jayalalithaa couldn’t watch her own film for being underage.

She was one of the most prominent faces of the South film industry and bankable stars of the 60s. Her mentor M.G. Ramchandran (Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran) or MGR was her inspiration. He was the uncrowned ‘King of Tamil Nadu’ who himself was not only the greatest influential personality in Tamil film industry but also the most successful actor turned politician.

Jayalalithaa has an obsessive fan following very much like her mentor MGR and other film star turned politicians of South India. Jayalalithaa holds record of being a Tamil actress with maximum silver jubilee hits- 80 Tamil hits, 28 in Telugu and her one Hindi film, ‘Izzat’ was also a hit.

Jayalalithaa followed the footsteps of her guru (mentor) to become successful actor turned politician. MGR founded Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazgham (ADMK) and went on to become Tamil Nadu Chief Minister in 1977.

Jayalithaa acted with MGR in 28 films which brought them together as partners in politics and MGR asked Jayalalithaa to join him when her formed AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam). MGR was enamoured by her oratory but particularly her fluency in English. These skills helped ‘Amma’ to book her berth in Rajya Sabha in 1984.

In Jayalalithaa’s case, it is not a case of simple faith – it is blind faith. Blind faith of supporters, it is nectar for every politician aspiring immortality in democracy. There are very few politicians in contemporary Indian politics that India can match the level of popularity enjoyed by the 68 year-old leader J. Jayalalithaa.

n 1991, Jayalalithaa went to become the youngest and the first women Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. From here Jayalalithaa’s political fortunes took a tidal turn. Jayalalithaa faced a series of legal battles, trials and triumphs while she was embroiled in controversies in cases like colour TV scam, TANSI land deal and pleasant stay hotel.

In the year 2014, Jayalithaa suffered the biggest blow of her political career when she was jailed in disproportionate assets case. But on 11 May 2015, she was acquitted of all charges by High Court of Karnataka. The acquittal in 2015 paved way for her as she becomes the Chief Minister for the fifth time. For all this while, she became, one hand, the goddess for millions of supporters while epitome of corruption and personal vendetta for critics and analysts.