Jayalalitha Jayaram, commonly referred to as Jayalalitha, has taken up the mantle of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, for the sixth time. The AIADMK leader has changed the state for good under her rule and is not gearing up to do that once again. The actress turned politician, popularly known as ‘Amma’, is the only female chief minister in South India; here’s taking a look at her journey.

Experience in the Fine Arts

Amma learnt Bharatnatyam from the tender age of 3. She performed her dance ‘arangetram’ (debut-recital) in 1960.

Start of film career

Amma was forced to join the tamil films by her actress mother Sandhya (Vedavathi) at the age of 15.

Extremely successful film career

Jayalalitha holds the record for having been the Tamil actress with maximum silver jubilee hits in her career – 80 hits of 85 Tamil films.  In addition, she also has all 28 films in Telugu as silver jubilee hits. Her Hindi debut, ‘Izzat’, was also a hit. She is also an amazing singer. She has contributed many songs to Tamil film industry.

Induction into politics

Marudhur Gopalan Ramachandran(MGR) was monumental in Amma’s career. He also introduced her into politics.

Continuation of acting even as a politician

In her first movie as a politician, she played herself as a chief minister in the movie ‘Neenga Nalla Erukkanum’.

Equally successful political career

She’s the second longest serving woman chief minister and one of the four incumbent woman chief ministers of India.

Mastery over languages

Amma is a polyglot, with fluency in six languages.

Mastery over writing

She is a distinguished writer in Tamil and has authored one novel. She was a regular writer in the yesteryear Tamil weekly ‘Thai’.

Lover of English fiction

Amma is a avid reader of English literature and makes it a point to carry a few with her.

Inspiring an entire state

Almost all government schemes in Tamil Nadu are named after Amma.

Amma’s Philanthropy

Amma financially helped a young gardener pursue his studies.  He completed his studies in a reputed engineering college in Madurai, majoring in Computer Science. Today, he works for Amazon. This is just one example of her philanthropic activities.

The Visionary

Amma was the first to introduce foreign based automobile factories(Ford USA) in Chennai in 1995. Chennai now houses the top 10 vehicle manufacturers worldwide and accounts for more than 40% of vehicles on Indian roads.

Upholder of Values

Amma banned social evils like pan, gutka, lottery and casinos.

Enabling Women Empowerment

Amma increased the number of women polices to a huge extent and put Tamil Nadu at 2nd place, nationally.

Increase in the Women to Men ratio

She introduced “Cradle baby” scheme and increased sex ratio of state considerably. She introduced ‘all women’ police stations in TamilNadu and set up as many as 57 of them.

No expense spared!

Amma holds the  Guinness World Record for hosting the largest wedding banquet/reception. In 1995, during her first term as Chief Minister, she organised a lavish wedding for her foster son Sudhagaran. The Book notes that over 1,50,000 guests were invited to the wedding at a 50-acre ground in Chennai.

The One Rupee Salary

She refused to collect her monthly earnings as Chief Minister. Upon earnest requests by her followers, she settled for a salary of Re. 1.

Most Powerful Woman in Tamil Nadu

After years of succumbing to the pressures of male dominated film industry, the actress turned politician made history by emerging as the most powerful woman in the Tamil Nadu politics.

The Honorary Title

Amma is called ‘Puratchi Thalaiva’ (revolutionary leader) by her followers because of her tireless work for the underprivileged.

Political Rivalry

Her career has been characterized by her long-running political rivalry with the 91-year old M Karunanidhi, leader of the DMK. The two leaders have succeeded each other in and out of power for much of the past two decades.


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