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Jayalalithaa, the movie star who became one of India’s most controversial politicians, dies at 68

Jayalalithaa Jayaraman, a movie star who transformed into one of the most powerful politicians in southern India, passed away late on Dec. 5. She was 68, serving her sixth term as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

The widely popular leader, who helmed the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) since 1989, suffered a massive cardiac arrest while admitted at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital. She had been hospitalised on Sept. 22, with fever and dehydration.

Jayalalithaa began her film career as a teenager, appearing in her first film when she was only 13. In 1965, she entered the Tamil film industry, going on to register a meteoric rise, particularly through her collaboration with actor Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran, popularly referred to as MGR. Though he was over three decades her senior, MGR and Jayalalithaa developed a powerful chemistry that eventually transcended the celluloid as the actress followed her mentor into politics in 1982. Two years later, she entered the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house, where she served till 1989. Full Story



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