Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who has imprinted her name in history books because of her strong administration skills and determined leadership, was once a glamourous heroine in the Tamil silver screen.
Being a popular pair to the demi god of Tamil people, MG Ramachandran (MGR), the duo had churned out many blockbusters. MGR was instrumental in Jaya's cinema and political career as it was the proximity and affinity between the duo which helped the same.
However, MGR was much older than Jayalalithaa and was busy with his cine and political life. That is when Jayalalithaa found a good companion in Sobhan Babu, a yesteryear Telugu star. Sobhan Babu was younger than MGR and was a well-read actor who oozed charisma. The much affluent actress was able to strike a chord with Babu, as they had quite a few things in common.
The mutual admiration was so much so that the Amma of Tamil Nadu had even proposed to Sobhan Babu to enter wedlock. While there are couple of theories of marriage which did rounds, where one theory suggests that the couple got hitched in a typical Brahmin-Iyengari style wedding, whilst the other claims that the wedding was called off at the eleventh hour, apparently an MGR effort.
Though Jayalalithaa was well aware of the fact that Babu was already married and had a teenage son, the intense affection made them take the decision.
Meanwhile, Jayalalithaa's PRO Anandan doubted that she had plans to marry, although he admitted, in the book, that Sobhan Babu was indeed a constant visitor to Poes Garden. It was also suggested that Babu's wife strongly opposed their decision which dampened the
Thus her short-lived affair with Sobhan Babu came to an abrupt end, but her open acknowledgement to the affair gave her political opponents an extra piece of mouth to wag around. They projected her in a negative shade and tarnished her character by calling her an unworthy heir of MGR.
The criticism made her quit films at the peak of her career and turned her into a recluse. However it failed to break her. She rose up from the ashes like a phoenix to start a new innings-as a gritty politician-to eventually become the face of Tamil Nadu.