The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa, or as she is fondly referred to in the state- Amma is currently in hospital, and suffered a cardiac arrest which has worsened her condition. Having started her political career in 1982, Jayalalithaa has fought 12 high profile cases in the last two decades and has come out of them victorious. SheThePeople.TV brings you 5 things in Jayalalithaa’s life that shaped her career:


Jayalalitha in a scene from a Tamil Film Picture By:
Jayalalithaa in a scene from a Tamil Film
Picture By:


Jayalalithaa started her journey as a Kannada, Tamil and Telugu actress in her mid-teens and in the following years became one of the top actresses of South. Having acted in over 120 films in her film career that spanned over two decades, she won a National Award and multiple Filmfare awards for her performances. Her status as one of the leading actresses in cinema laid foundation for her immense popularity as a politician in later years.


Jayalalitha with MGR Picture By: Deccan Chronicle
Jayalalithaaa with MGR
Picture By: Deccan Chronicle


In the 60’s and 70’s Jayalalithaa starred opposite Marudhur Gopalan Ramachandran or MGR, who later invited her to join his Political Party, AIADMK in 1981. After delivering her first speech at the party conference, Jayalalithaa soon became propaganda secretary for the party and was selected as its candidate in the by-election for the Tiruchendur Assembly constituency. Post MGR’s death she announced herself as his heir and took over the party completely.


Jayalalitha with Thuglak editor Cho Ramaswamy Picture By: Deccan Chronicle
Jayalalithaa with Thuglak editor Cho Ramaswamy
Picture By: Deccan Chronicle


Post Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, in what some people call the ‘sympathy-wave,’ AIADMK – Congress together went on to win 225 of the 234 seats and all 40 seats at the national level. As an uncrowned monarch of her party, Jayalalithaa’s popularity further grew because of her association with media persons like Cho Ramaswamy, the editor of the influential ‘Thuglak’. She later also gained control over JJ TV, among other media organizations.


Jayalalitha on her foster son's wedding Picture By: The Indian Express
Jayalalithaa on her foster son’s wedding
Picture By: The Indian Express


Her career went on a low in 1996 when her party won 4 of the 168 seats and various corruption cases were filed against her and other party members. The previous year, her foster son’s lavish wedding to another famous film star Shivaji Ganesan’s granddaughter, gained worldwide attention and was viewed by people all over the country. All of this added to the list of controversies and in 1996 Dr Subramanian Swamy, a leader of Janata Party, filed a case against Jayalalithaa that led to her brief arrest later that year.


Jayalalitha after being released from jail Picture By: Arab News
Jayalalithaa after being released from jail
Picture By: Arab News


After an 18-year long trial, in September last year, Jayalalithaa was convicted and the court slapped a fine of 100 crores on her for misusing her office during her tenure of 1991-96. Jayalalithaa became the first incumbent Chief Minister who had to step down from her post due to conviction, while in office. After spending 21 days in prison, Jayalalithaa was released from prison on bail. Today she was finally acquitted of all charges against her and might soon take over her office again.


[Featured Picture Courtesy:]