When Jayalalithaa ‘raged, argued against’ a film career: ‘My mother explained there was no way out’

In a old interview, Jayalalithaa said she never wanted to become an actor or a politician. Her life will be presented in Thalaivii with Kangana Ranaut playing the lead.

Kangana Ranaut is all set to take over the silver screen with her upcoming biopic Thalaivii, which is based on the life of veteran late actor-politician Jayalalithaa. Ahead of the film release, we revisited Jayalalithaa’s interview with Simi Garewal on the latter’s talk show.

In the very first five minutes of the hour-long video, Jayalalithaa admitted of being the “person who hates the limelight.” Interestingly, Jayalalithaa ruled the silver screen as the leading lady. She featured in more than 125 films. Later, after quitting her filmy career, she stepped into politics and became the most loved politician of her time. She served as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for more than 14 years between 1991 and 2016.




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Talking about her filmy and political career, Jayalalithaa said that she was “propelled by fate into two high profile careers. Both not of my choosing.”

The actor-politician, who passed away in 2016, spoke about how she was never fond of a film career even though her mother was an actor by profession. “I was just not interested in a filmy career. I was too shy a person. I never felt comfortable in the glare of the limelight,” she said, adding, “If I had my way, I probably might have won a Nobel prize.” Jayalalithaa confessed that she was very good at studies. However, due to circumstances at home, she had to step into the tinsel town.

Explaining that her journey of becoming an actor started at the age of 16, Jayalalithaa shared she had to choose between higher studies and acting in films.

“I tried about three days. I raged, I argued. But what can one do at the age of 16. Mother explained family circumstances. She told me she was not getting too many films offers. My grandfather had retired. We had to support my grandparents, my aunt and their children. My brother had not completed his education. So, she made me understand that there was no other way out,” Jayalalithaa said adding that she was getting film’s offer in golden plate, “Offers were pouring in by themselves.”

Reminiscing her journey as an actor, Jayalalithaa said, “I was number one star of my time in South.” But did she like it? “I didn’t like it,” she expressed, adding, “Once I take up something or decide to do something, I must excel in it. I give it my all. So even though I hated classical dancing, I was one of the best classical dancers in the country. I hated my career and my films. But I was number one. And though, I shouldn’t say, I don’t like politics but people say I am a successful politician. I surprise myself,” Jayalalithaa chuckled.

Kangana Ranaut’s Thailaivii will also focus on Jayalalithaa’s filmy and political career. Recently, Kangana opened up on how she got into the shoes of the legendary political figure.

“It’s a very personal process that I wouldn’t recommend for anyone but the psychology of a character is very important to me. To know the missing link in their psyche. To figure them out. To put the dots together. What were their deep desires and what were their weaknesses? What were the soft points and strengths? It’s a very psychological approach to begin with and it leads to the traits that are dominant in their personality,” Kangana Ranaut told Film Companion.

The film, directed by AL Vijay, will release on September 10. It will stream on OTT platforms four weeks after its theatrical release.

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