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Amma Ballad – The Story of Jayalalithaa, Tamil Folk Style

Here’s a look back at her life in Tamil folk style, with all her phenomenal successes and faults.

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(This story was first published on 24 February 2018. It has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark J Jayalalithaa’s birth anniversary.)

J Jayalalithaa was one of Tamil Nadu’s most charismatic leaders, something she probably inherited from MGR, her mentor. At least, that is what her party members would have you, and the rest of Tamil Nadu believe.

Jayalalithaa’s successes as a student, and then as a movie star are phenomenal. As an actor, she was disinterested (as she herself confessed), and yet, a brilliant and prolific artiste. Her political strategy was flush with people-friendly schemes that were adopted by other states. However, her journey also saw big embarrassing scams and jail sentences.

Overall, Jayalalithaa was phenomenal in her successes, failures, virtues and faults.

Here’s a ballad set in a Tamil folk tune, on the woman whom Tamil Nadu calls Amma:

Let me tell a story about the original

Tamil Diva (Aha aha!)

You may call her Ammu or Amma or

J Jayalalithaa (wah wah wah wah!)

Like a golden star she shone in Kollywood

for 23 years (Appa Pa!)

And then she was Queen of Tamil Nadu

for more than 14 years (Amma Amma!)

In the spring of '48,

in what was then Mysore State

Komalavalli was born with a silver spoon

But then the, the family fell into debt

before fifty moons

Komalavalli became Jayalalitha

at the age of one

All through school up to her 10th

in everything she was Number One

But then...

Jaya's mother Vedavalli asked her

not to act so silly

And forget studies and her

dream of a family

So that they can, Pay off

mounting debts and stop

living in penury

And so...

Venniradai came out in the

summer of 65'

Ammu's debut film got the masses

to collectively sigh

Aayirathil Oruvan busted

all blocks in the same year

Where she acted beside

Revolutionary Leader, MGR!

For the next twenty years

she ruled the film industry

And between MGR and her,

there brewed real chemistry

And soon...

Ammu became Anni,

and everything looked so sunny

As she entered the political scene

And turned Karunanidhi into a meme

She handled propaganda

as ADMK's member

And promptly began to steal

older party member's thunder

She also tried to marry an

already married MGR

And was slowly cut off from

the Tamil superstar

Ayyayyo!!

RIP MGR! So begins the

never ending war

Amma becomes CM at just 41

Against misogyny and men

she seemed to have won

But then!

Her disproportionate greed,

she could not overcome

She tried to shut down the press

who refused to be mum

Ahahaha!

Four time CM da!

Aiming for PM da!

Done in by Sasikala...

that’s what they say (hush hush!)

In the end Jaya’s friendships

really didn’t pay

Her persona would make

historic princesses pale

Her life eventually turned

into a cautionary tale

She lived alone and died alone

now her party's come undone

TN now calls for a leader

when in truth there is none!

Thana thannaa naane naane thana thannaa naane naane..

Thana thannaa naane naane thana thannaa naane naane..

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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