Remembering J Jayalalithaa: Moments from the life of actress-turned-politician

Updated: 24 February, 2020 08:35 IST
  • Jayalalithaa was born on February 24, 1948, to Jayaram and Vedavalli. She emerged as a feisty leader in a state where forces of social justice had thrown up an anti-Brahmin political movement even before independence.

  • Jayalalithaa studied at Sacred Heart Matriculation School in Chennai. She was an excellent student and was offered a scholarship to pursue further education. Jayalalithaa was fluent in several languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Malayalam and English. She was also trained in classical music, western classical piano, and various forms of classical dance. Jayalalithaa learned Bharatnatyam when she was just three. 

  • Jayalalithaa was once taken to a studio by her mother who also had a shoot in the same premises. It was then that she was asked to shoot a scene as Goddess Parvati since the child actress who was supposed to play the role had not turned up. Initially, Jayalalithaa wanted to be a lawyer but her debut film was so successful that she immediately became popular

    In picture: Jayalalithaa chats with Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) senior leader Jyoti Basu during a meeting on April 19, 1999 in New Delhi

  • Jayalalithaa made her debut as a lead actress in Chinnada Gombe (1964) while she was still studying in school. She was just 15 at the time. She was a leading actress in 140 films of several languages from 1961 to 1980, before entering politics. Jayalalithaa also acted in a Bollywood movie called 'Izzat' opposite Dharmendra

    In picture: Atal Behari Vajpayee with Jayalalithaa at a meeting in New Delhi in an undated picture

  • Jayalalithaa and MG Ramachandran (MGR) starred in about 28 films together and became the most successful onscreen couple of all time with the masses. It was MGR who launched her political career after movies

    In picture: Jayalalithaa visits a portrait of party founder MG Ramachandran in Chennai on May 20, 2016

  • A tinsel heroine, who inherited the legacy of her mentor late MGR, had entered politics in the early 1980s as the propaganda secretary of AIADMK and was made the incharge of the noon meal scheme undertaken by the MGR government

    In picture: An All India Dravid Munetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) worker displays a handkerchief with party chief and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa portrait outside the party office in Madras (now Chennai) on May 14, 2001

  • Jayalalithaa was allegedly physically and verbally assaulted by DMK members after which she steeled her resolve to bring the AIADMK back to power. In the 1991 state assembly elections, the party won an overwhelming victory, and Jayalalitha began her first term as chief minister heading a coalition government with Congress

    In picture: Sonia Gandhi (right), gestures as she speaks to Jayalalithaa during a function in New Delhi, on March 29, 1999


  • Jayalalithaa was a member of the Rajya Sabha, elected from Tamil Nadu, from 1984 to 1989 

    In picture: Jayalalithaa chats with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav during a meeting of opposition parties at his residence on April, 21 1999 in New Delhi

  • Jayalalithaa, who was the second Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after MGR's wife Janaki Ramachandran, served as Chief Minister from 1991 to 1996, in 2001, from 2002 to 2006 and from 2011 to 2014. She became the first incumbent chief minister in India to be disqualified from holding office due to conviction in a disproportionate assets case on September 27, 2014

    In picture: A party cadre celebrates victory with All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader Jayalalithaa R as she gestures at her residence in Chennai on May 19, 2016

  • Jayalalithaa was re-elected as Chief Minister on May 19, 2016 and took the oath as Chief Minister for the sixth time on May 23, 2016.

    In picture: A party cadre prostrates himself at the feet of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK) leader Jayalalithaa as she gestures at her residence in Chennai on May 19, 2016

  • Jayalalithaa also implemented welfare schemes like all-women police stations, women libraries, all-women banks during her tenures and became famous for her series of Amma Canteen, Amma Water, Amma Salt, Amma Medical, Amma Fan, Amma Seeds, Amma Mixi and Amma Grinder

    In this photograph released by India's Press Information Bureau on June 14, 2016, Jayalalithaa (L) meets Narendra Modi in New Delhi
  • Jayalalithaa practiced politics on her own terms and was one of the two poles in the state for nearly 30 years fighting the DMK headed by redoubtable M Karunanidhi

    Chess legend Vishwanathan Anand (R) receives a trophy from the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa (L) during a presentation ceremony in Chennai on November 25, 2013

  • Jayalalithaa figures in the Guinness Book of World Records for hosting the 'largest wedding banquet/reception'. In 1995, she organised a massive and lavish wedding for her foster son Sudagaran. Over 1,50,000 guests were invited at a 50-acre ground in Chennai, a move that was criticised in the media

    Leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIMDMK) political party and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J.Jayalalithaa (R) with the late Sushma Swaraj in 2004

  • Jayalalithaa was an avid reader and kept up with reading. She used to carry books whenever she travelled. In 1997, Jayalalithaa took a pledge to not wear any jewellery and stayed true to it for more than a decade

    In picture: Street vendor R.Raghunathan cleans photos of actress-turned-politician Jayalalithaa on March 17, 2002 in Madras (now Chennai)

  • From a movie star to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa was fondly called Amma (mother) by her followers. She passed away on December 5, 2016, at the age of 68. She was undergoing treatment at a Chennai hospital for 75 days


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About The Gallery

From a movie star to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa was fondly called Amma (mother) by her followers. She passed away on December 5, 2016, at the age of 68. She was undergoing treatment at a Chennai hospital for 75 days. On former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's birth anniversary, here's a look back at her life in photos. 

First Published: 24 February, 2019 18:01 IST