From a hesitant teen starlet to becoming the protege of AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran aka MGR and a three-time Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa Jayaraam has traversed a long path of highs and lows in her four-decade- long political career, the latest being her conviction in an 18-year-old graft case today.
The life of the 66 year-old, who started her film career at the age of 15, has all the makings of an intense celluloid depiction. While as a student she was deeply interested in studies, she went on to become one of the most sought-after Tamil actresses.
Jayalalithaa did a total of 28 films pairing with MGR, the then Superstar of Tamil cinema and one of the most respected Indian politicians, with the bonding later stretching to politics too.
Having mentored Jayalalithaa for a while as he floated his AIADMK breaking away from the M Karunanidhi-led DMK, MGR made his protege the party’s Propaganda Secretary in 1983, a year after she joined it and later nominated her to Rajya Sabha, apparently impressed with her English communication skills.
The two later reportedly had some differences but Jayalalithaa spearheaded the party’s election campaign in 1984 when MGR fell ill and was under treatment in the US.
Her moment of reckoning came in December 1987 when MGR passed away. During the funeral procession of the AIADMK founder, Jayalalithaa was allegedly humiliated by supporters of MGR’s wife Janaki, which led to a vertical split in the party.