Jayalalitha or “Amma” as she is fondly known, had much more to her story than just her political career. She was not just any political figure, but an icon. The Amma of them all. While the world made fun of people prostrating against her, people really wanted to. But what was it that Jayalalithaa liked? Did she have interests?

Many of us know about her political career, but there is also a non-political history to Jayalalitha that not many know about.

– She holds a Guinness Book of World Records for hosting the largest wedding reception. In the year 1995, when her foster son named Sudhagaran got married, she organised a gathering of over 1,50,000 guests at a ground measuring 50 acres, in Chennai. This was even covered by The New York Times with the headline: “For Indian Politician, An Opulent Wedding Means Political Bliss”

– Daughter to an actress mother Sandhya, Jayalalitha was reportedly coaxed into joining the Tamil film industry at the age of 13. She in fact could not watch her own movie in the theatre as it was rated ‘Adults Only’ and she still had some growing up to do.

-At one point she grew up wanting to be a lawyer, not a politician. Her father was a lawyer but failed at it and died when Jayalalithaa was just two.

Jayalalitha
Jayalalithaa

– She was the first actress who was forward enough to don a sleeveless blouse and drench under a waterfall for a movie scene. She even wore skirts which which, for a time like that, was a bold move forward; none of the other tamil actresses had done this before.

Love for books, acting career at teens and a stellar ability to make powerful speeches

– An accomplished dancer, Amma trained in classical dance forms like Bharatnatyam, Mohini Attam, Kathak and Manipuri. She also started learning Carnatic music at the age of four and sang for many films of hers.

-She was proficient at English. It was the reason MGR wanted her to be an important spokesperson of the AIADMK. So much so he also was the force behind making her a Rajya Sabha member so she could voice the demands of the state articulately.

Jayalalithaa’s Bollywood debut was in a film called Izzat opposite Dharmendra

-Jayalalithaa was an avid reader and was often seen carrying a couple of books during her journeys and travels.

-Jayalalithaa’s Bollywood debut was in a film called Izzat opposite Dharmendra. This was in 1968 and she played the role of an advasi woman called Jhumki who falls in love with a man of the ‘upper classes.’

-Though there was often speculation about her materialistic desires, after 1997 she decided not to wear any jewellery and often was seen dressed in plain sarees mostly maroon or dark green.