Jayalalithaa was born on the 24th of February 1948 in Melukote in Mysore state which is now Karnataka. She completed her schooling at the Sacred Heart Matriculation School which is popularly known as Church Park Presentation Convent or Presentation Church Park Convent in Chennai. Jayalalithaa excelled at school and always got high grades which bought her a government scholarship which furthered her studies. Jayalalithaa moved on to higher studies and did her college at Stella Maris College, Chennai. Those days studying in college used to be considered as a great achievement.
Jayalalitha was trained in classical music, Western classical piano, and various forms of classical dance, including Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, Manipuri and Kathak dance forms. Eventually, she performed in many shows and one of her performances gave her the break to act in films. One performed at the Rasika Ranjani Sabha, in Mylapore, in May 1960 changed her life. The Chief Guest of the event was Shivaji Ganesan who saw the talent in Jayalalithaa. She soon got numerous chances to perform on stage. As a child actor, she made her debut in the Kannada film “Sri Shaila” in the year 1961. In the Telugu industry, she made her debut in the year 1965 in “Manushulu Mamathalu” opposite to Akkineni Nageswara Rao.
Jayalalithaa went on to became the finest actors in the Country. She appeared in about 140 films from 1961 to 1980 in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Kannada industries, out of which she appeared in about 25 films in Telugu. With N.T.R., Jayalalithaa acted in about 12 films and with Akkineni Nageswara Rao she acted in about 7 films.
She acted in numerous movies with Tamil actor Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran popularly known as M.G.R., who also served Tamil Nadu as the Chief Minister for 10 years from 1977 to 1987. It was M.G.R., who helped Jayalalithaa to enter politics of Tamil Nadu. In 1982, she joined the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.) Her first public speech “Pennin Perumai” meaning the greatness of a woman got her a lot of attention. In 1991, her alliance with the Indian National Congress helped her rise to victory and was elected as the president. The AIADMK alliance with the Congress won 225 out of the 234 seats in 1991.
In the year 1996, she lost the power due to numerous allegations on her of corruption. Moving on there were several corruption cases filed against her by the ruling party DMK government which was headed by Karunanidhi. Jayalalithaa was arrested by the police on 7th of December on charges of misusing office finance to buy colour televisions at a higher price than quoted and received back the amount summing approximately 10.16 crore rupees. The police had kept her in custody for 30 days. Finally, she was acquitted in the case on 30th of May 2000 by the trial court and the High Court.
It was quite tough for her to win the elections in 2001. Jayalalithaa was not allowed to take part in the elections as she was found guilty of criminal offenses. It was alleged she had obtained property belonging to a state-operated agency called TANSI. Although the Supreme Court sentenced her for five years of imprisonment, AIADMK won the majority and she became the Chief Minister as a non-elected member of the state assembly on 14th of May 2001. The third time she was sworn in as president of the party was in 2011.
In 2014, she was convicted of misusing her post as the Chief Minister during her tenure from 1991 to 1996. Jayalalithaa garnered properties worth 66.65 crore rupees. On 27th of September 2014, Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four years in prison and was fined a sum of 100 crore rupees by the Special Court located in Bangalore. On 11th of May 2015, with the help of special Bench of the Karnataka High Court, her conviction was set aside.
She returned as the Chief Minister on 23rd of May 2016. On 22nd of September 2016, J. Jayalalitghaa was admitted to Apollo Hospital, Chennai as she suffered from fever and dehydration. Jayalalithaa was treated by a special team of doctors which included doctors from AIIMS and from the U.K. Her official duties were handed over to O. Panneerselvam on 12th of October 2016. Her health started deteriorating and she also suffered a cardiac arrest. Jayalalithaa breath her last on 5th of December 2016 aged 68.
Jayalalithaa will always be remembered in millions of hearts as “Amma.” May her soul rest in peace.