“Jayalalithaa ji & I Started Our Career Together,” Hema Malini
“It’s hard to be Jayalalithaaji has gone so soon…she and I are the same age. In fact I started my career with her .
I was supposed to do my first film in Tamil in which she was the other heroine. The film was entitled Vennire Adai.It was a love triangle with Jayalalithaaji and I playing the hero’s two love interests.
But then the director Sridhar removed me from the film after a few days’ shooting . I was only 15.Too young to understand the complexities of love and relationships. So I don’t blame them for asking me to leave.The few days that I shot with Jayalalithaaji I got to observe her very closely. I was very impressed by her grace and beauty and her dignity.
She came to the sets with her mother. So did I. She remained aloof during all the time that I met her on the sets…didn’t speak much to anyone. I wonder how that shy lady I met on the sets of my first film(which I never did) transformed into one of the most powerful women in India! Jayalalithaaji was not just a politician she was the messiah of the masses. Look at the way the masses of Tamil Nadu, specially women, are mourning for her. She gave hope to the poor even from before she became the chief minister and then after she came to power she didn’t forget her pledge to help the poor.She provided free rice, televisions sets, computers even homes to the poor.
That’s why they loved her and called her Amma. If you go to Tamil Nadu now you will hear the people wailing ‘Amma Amma’. It’s as if the State has lost its mother. That’s the place Jayalalithaaji made in the masses’ hearts. They loved and worshipped her like a God. Speaking of the Gods, I must tell you about one of her lesser known achievements .
She helped to restore hundreds of temples in Tamil Nadu which were on the verge of collapse.She truly and fearlessly cared for her people. To me her biggest achievement was that she took on the male-dominated bastion of politics with such fearlessness and grace. They tried to humiliate and cow her down in every way possible. But Jayalalithaaji was unstoppable.With every attack on her integrity she became stronger.
It’s such a pity that bad health and illness snatched her away from us so soon.She had so much more to give.A truly inspiring woman for all of us.You are right when you say my career resembles hers. We both started in our mother tongue in Tamil cinema. We both went from acting to politics. Jayalalithaaji also danced on stage, like I did.
As an actress too she was par excellence. She did filmi dancing with the correct mass movements without losing her dignity.We could say the same about her conduct in politics. There will never be another woman like her.”