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Fifth of December will remain the black letter day for Tamil Nadu as well as the Indian politics, as it is the day that the country lost Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, Jayalalitha, to a cardiac arrest. She was a fierce, undaunting and successful political leader who stood her ground and rose to carve her own niche in an environment of male-dominated politics.
Interestingly, the late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu did not dream of entering politics but rather nursed a desire to become a lawyer. This should not come as a surprise to her fans as she was the school topper. Born to a Tamil Iyengar family in Karnataka, she made her movie debut at the age of 15 in a Kannada film titled Chinnada Gombe (which means Golden Girl). She has starred in Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and one Hindi movie, titled Izzat opposite Dharmendra. Some of her skills also include being trained in Classical music, Western Classical piano, Bharatnatyam, Mohiniattam, Kathak and Manipuri. Another little known trivia is that she did the playback for quite a number of movies that she acted in.
In an interview with Simi Garewal, the late CM of Tamil Nadu confessed to having a crush on cricketer Nari Contractor and on late actor, Shammi Kapoor. She also sang a line from her favourite song “Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni mein hum” on the show.
After basking in the glory of a successful movie journey with a filmography of 140 movies, of which 119 are declared blockbusters, it was in 1982 that Jayalalithaa entered politics which was a consequence of the late veteran actor MGR who founded AIADMK.
However, it’s not just movies and politics where she created waves. The Late CM of TN made her impact on the fashion world too. She became the first actress in the Tamil film Industry to wear sleeveless suits, skirts, knee-length dresses and gowns during the 1960s. It was a bold move considering the time period and the conservative nature of the then Tamil film Industry. It is also said that she owns 10,500 sarees, 750 pairs of shoes, watches and jewellery which were mementoes that she curated during her initial years in filmdom. During the journey in her political career she vowed not to wear jewellery. And yet her no-jewellery look didn’t dilute her aura or her effortless elegance. Her radiant smile always accompanied her, adding to her natural charm.
Lovingly known as Amma by her supporters, she had been the symbol of strength for Tamil women, based on her women-friendly policies. On a political level, she constantly battled patriarchy prevalent in the political culture and shattered a glass ceiling with her indomitable spirit. It is not without any reason that MP and DMK leaders remember Jayalalithaa as “an inspiration to women to fight and rise above circumstances.” She built a loyal base among the women and enjoyed their love and support.
With the untimely demise of this brave leader, we lost a great political figure, an inspiring woman and a graceful fashion icon far ahead of her times. RIP Jayalalitha.
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