As Chief Minister, she drew a salary of just Re 1. When she became Chief Minister, she was given a cheque as her first salary. She said she had “abundant sources of income and did not need the salary.” On being told that she should receive salary as a public servant, she accepted Re 1 as salary.
The peak of Jayalalithaa’s film career occurred between 1965 and 1980. During this period, she was one of India’s highest-paid actresses, and acted in over 140 films, 120 of which were blockbusters.
Jayalalithaa’s mother worked as an actress in local drama companies and Tamil cinema. She followed in her mother’s footsteps, first as a child actor. At the age of 15, she played a leading role in the Kannada film Chinnada Gombe, which became a runaway success.
SHE WAS FORCED TO ACT OWING TO HER FAMILY SITUATION, she was amazing at scholastic. She secured first rank in the state in her Matriculation common board exam. Her mom, Sandhya, was by then a well-known actress in the industry and thus she gained access for Jayalalitha at such young age, although her passion was not acting because she was more of a scholastic person who was driven by her academics.
Growing up, she had a fan-girl crush on MAK Pataudi. She’s on record as saying that she used to go for matches with her binoculars “just to look at Pataudi and Pataudi alone.” She also had a crush on Nari Contractor, and collected photographs of Rock Hudson.
In 1991, Jayalalithaa became the first female(and the youngest) chief minister of Tamil Nadu to serve a full term
As Chief Minister, she bathed in public and nearly 50 people died in a stampede. In 1992, Jayalalithaa attended the mahamakam festival in Kumbakonam, the Kumbh Mela of South India. Sections of the ghats where she was to have a ritual bath were cordoned off, but the crowds that thronged to see her were caught in a stampede, in which nearly 50 people were killed.
THE NO JEWELLERY NOTION, It is interesting to note that in 1997, she vowed not to wear any Jewellery after the then Government of Tamil Nadu, run by DMK, confiscated all her jewellery during investigation into cases related to owning disproportionate assets. Things recovered from Jayalalitha’s house included 750 pairs of footwear, 800 kilograms of silver, 28 kilograms of Gold, 10000+ sarees,91 watches and 44 air conditioners.
For fourteen years, she never wore and jewellery and wore it once again in 2011, after storming back to power. She said she had to wear them because her party workers insisted her and she respected their sentiments. That right there, was an example of how much determined a women can get.
Her name is in the Guinness Book of World Records but not in a good way. She holds the record for hosting the “largest wedding banquet/reception”. In 1995, during her first term as Chief Minister, she organised an obscenely lavish wedding for her ‘foster son’ Sudhagaran. The Guinness record booknotes that over 1,50,000 guests were invited to the wedding at a 50-acre ground in Chennai.
In the breathless prose of the The New York Times, the reception featured “a cardboard and papier-mache ‘fort’ that covered an area as big as several football fields.
“For miles between Jayalalithaa’s official residence and the wedding site, streets were decorated with Grecian statues and gilded lions. Shrines were erected, with icon-like images of Jayalalithaa in place of Hindu Gods. Fountains played, and the turmoil of daily street life was hidden from view by walls of banana leaves.”
The Income Tax Department estimated the wedding cost at Rs 10 crore, but she said it was all paid for by “the people”.
A Governor once ‘misbehaved’ with her, the incident in the Tamil Nadu Assembly in which she said she was nearly disrobed by DMK MLAs is well chronicled. But what’s less known is that when she was Chief Minister in 1992, she accused the then Governor of Tamil Nadu, M. Channa Reddy, of having “misbehaved” with her. That’s a charge anyone could readily believe of Channa Reddy, who shared with another infamous Congress Governor the reputation of performing sexual athletics inside the Raj Bhavan.
During her term as Leader of the Opposition, DMK MLAs molested Jayalalithaa and nearly disrobed her while the house was in session. Media coverage of her emerging from the assembly in a torn saree, and her own comparison of the ordeal to Draupadi’s cheerharan, won immense sympathy from the public.
Jayalalithaa was professionally trained in classical music, western classical piano, and various forms of classical dance, including Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, Manipuri and Kathak.
Jayalalithaa was be referred to as Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) but she was called ‘Ammu’ by close family members and co-stars.
During the 1960s and 1970s, she starred opposite M G Ramachandran in a number of successful films. This forged a bond between the two, which led MGR to introduce her to politics when he was chief minister of Tamil Nadu. Jayalalithaa joined MGR’s All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in 1982, and was appointed the party’s propaganda secretary the following year.
She represented the AIADMK in the Rajya Sabha between 1984 and 1989. She was elected after MGR wanted her in New Delhi for her fluency in English and knowledge of several languages.
When MGR died in 1987, he left no clear political heir. AIADMK descended into chaos over his legacy. Jayalalithaa competed with his widow Janaki for control of the party, which eventually split into two major factions, one behind each woman.
Jayalalithaa returned to power in 2001, but her second term as chief minister was cut short when the Supreme Court ruled that she could not hold office while criminal cases were pending against her. She had been convicted on corruption charges in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case, though she was later acquitted and was reinstated as CM in 2003.
Jayalalithaa was sworn in as chief minister for the third time in 2011. But in 2014, she was sentenced to four years in jail in a disproportionate assets case. As a result, she became the first Indian chief minister to be disqualified from her post and the legislative assembly.
In 2015, she was acquitted of all charges in the disproportionate assets case. Amma returned as chief minister following a landslide victory in the by-election.
WIDOWED AT THE AGE OF 16?? Yes, I know this sounds rather more weird, but that’s not what I am about to say here. Her first Movie in the Tamil Industry was “Vennira Aadai “ (white dress) at her tender age of 16. The movie went on to get her an impression of a strong and charismatic performer with the audience. Although, the interesting part is that the Movie was certified with “A” rating which unfortunate for her, even she couldn’t watch because she wasn’t even an adult by then.
BOOK-ISH, Ms.J.Jayalalitha, apart from being a successful actress and acclaimed politician was an avid book reader. She used to carry English books all the time to her shooting spots and would be drowned with them during breaks in between shots. She was equally interested in writing contents which gave her another aspiration to dream about.
AN ALTERNATE PROFESSION, MAYBE? In an acclaimed interview with the most famous Simi Garewal, who has the gift of getting her celebrity guests to open up and reveal their secrets, making her syrupy interviews one of the most popular shows on television, in 1999, when she was questioned what should would have pursued if it wasn’t for politics or movies, the answer came as a shocker. She wanted to do LAW. Well, that makes sense now, considering the recent Assets case she has upon her and the way she managed to get out of it altogether. The LAW brain does work so efficiently. Who knows, maybe down the line she may as well excel in that in no time, given her track record to excel in new professions.