Flashback Friday: Tracing the filmy journey of renowned actress turned politician - late J Jayalalithaa!

A career spanning over 12 years or so in which she emerged as the top star of the Tamil film industry - J Jayalalithaa.

Born in 1948, on February 28, Jaya was named Komalavalli at birth. Losing her father at the age of two, circumstances forced Jaya to enter the world of films and cinema. 

But, what made Jaya standout from the crowd? In an era, where heroines were clad in sarees, dressed demurely, she started the trend of wearing western clothes onscreen - without sleeves, dresses, skirts and tight pants. 

At the tender age of 13, Jaya made a low-key debut in an English film - The Epistle in 1961. In 1964, the teenage girl starred as the lead actress in Kannada film Chinnada Gombe. 

In 1965, Vennira Aadai was released and she played a schizophrenic widow in the film. A major turning point in Jaya’s career came  when she was cast with matinee idol MGR in Ayirathil Oruvan. The film went on to become an all-time hit and also marked the beginning of the most successful onscreen pair who were cast as the lead in almost 27 films. 

Jayalalitha also worked with Sivaji Ganesan in 17 films, of which 15 were declared golden jubilee hits. 

Jayalalitha made her Hindi film debut in 1968 melodrama called Izzat which featured Dharmendra in a double role. Essaying the role of an adivasi, Jaya was seen in love with Dharmendra, who is far above her socially. While the film won her warm appreciation showcasing her dancing talent, she didn't star in another Hindi film after that. 

In an interview to Quint, Dharam ji spoke about Jayalalithaa - "She was very quiet, very graceful and only focused on her work. She didn't speak much on the sets. And we all respected her privacy. In the film, she played a chirpy, bubbly character. But in person she was quite the opposite. Very dignified, graceful and quiet."

Over the course of next few years, she worked in 140 movies, turning out to be a superstar in the South film industry. But from 1975, there was a distinct sign that Jaya was withdrawing from acting. 

By the time 1977 arrived, the year can be considered to be the ending part of her career - she was just 29 then!

In 1982, Jaya joined politics and was associated with MGR's AIADMK. 

In 1991, Jayalalithaa stormed to power as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time. She has been fondly known as Amma.

In 1992, when Jaya was CM, she made a brief appearance in Neenga Nalla Irukkanum in which she portrayed herself and was seen crusading for total prohibition in the state. The film bombed at the box office.

The nation lost a par excellence political leader due to ill health on December 5, 2016, at the age of 68. But, Jayalalithaa's glorious film career, down South will always be remembered... in years to come.

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Credits: Pinkvilla

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Comments

RIP...The Legend! you will be missed dearly :( A true Brave-heart, Fighter, One {Wo}man Army, Intelligent, Beautiful, Dignified, well spoken and a Power House!! The one and only Jayalalithaji-"Puratchi-Thalaivi-Amma....We love you and will miss you so very much!

Classy,witty,beautiful,strong,assertive not aggressive and that is what is a true woman!!she is the best!!!

Iron Lady!

Thank you for this. You could have also added her starring roles in Telugu films, where again she was a leading heroine. Her first Telugu film was Manushulu Mamathalu. Ironically the film was rated "Adult", so Jayalalitha was too young to see it!

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