Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5 and is being buried at Chennai’s Marina Beach. Ever since the news of her death was made public, people have taken to several social media platforms to share condolence messages, with some even posting anecdotal stories of moments spent with her. Even the minutest of interactions provide an interesting insight into Amma’s life and personality.
Many of us know that Jayalalithaa has spoken about how she was pushed into the film industry by her mother Sandhya at the age of 16, much against her wishes. She was a well-read and articulate student, who always excelled in studies but as fate would have it, she went on to become an actor who starred against superstars such as Rajinikanth and MG Ramachandran. She eventually fell in love with the latter, and the rest is history.
During her stint as an actor, she was widely written about and one of the 1980s’ gossip columns when she had made the exit from the film industry said that she was trying to make a comeback. After reading the piece, she wrote to the author making it clear to him that she wasn’t at all trying to make a ‘comeback’ and, in fact, turned down an offer to be acting with Rajinikanth. She also wrote, in the hand-written letter, that she was financially sound to the extent that she wouldn’t have to work the rest of her life.
Dated June 10, 1980, and signed by Jayalalithaa, the letter read, “This is only to tell you that my interests now lie in a different direction, and, if I am not acting in films at present, it is certainly not due to lack of good offers.
The journalist Brian Laul, who had received the letter, shared it on Facebook, saying, “it was one of the most articulate, logical stinkers I received, so neatly written on a tasteful letterhead. She wasn’t Amma or Puratchi Thalaivi or CM then, just a fiery, artistic 32-year-old with an enormous personality and the will to succeed at whatever she set her heart on.”
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