Jayalalithaa had a brief stint with Bollywood screen in the 1960s
It’s known to everyone former chief minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa remained one of the golden stars of glorious yesterdays of Tamil cinema. Do you know, though she is a south Indian actress, she had a brief stint with Bollywood during her younger days? Not only that, she loved Bollywood films and actors, and could speak Hindi as well. She has also admitted that she had a secret crush on actor Shammi Kapoor. She was trained in Kathak, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam, Mohiniattam and Manipuri dance forms, though she is quite popular among her fans with peppy dance moves. She was also trained in Carnatic music and western classical piano.
First appearance as Krishna for a song sequence in Man Mauji
Started her film journey as a child artist in the early 1960s for a few south Indian films, she made her first appearance on Bollywood screen for 1962 classic film, Man Mauji starring Kishore Kumar and Sadhna. She played Lord Krishna in a 3-minute dance sequence on stage. Kumari Naaz played Radha in that dance sequence which didn’t have any song.
Jayalalithaa played her single lead role in Bollywood opposite Dharmendra
Izzat – This drama movie released in the year 1967 marked Jayalalithaa’s debut as lead heroine in Bollywood. She played the lead role of a chubby adivasi girl in this film opposite Dharmendra. Dharmendra played double role in this film, where Tanuja played the second lead heroine. The movie directed by T. Prakash Rao had a few noted songs and dance sequences featuring Jaya.
Lata Mangeshkar sang the popular solos – “Ruk Ja Zara” and “Jagi Badan Mein Jwala” for Jayalalithaa for Izzat, and both the songs got noticed. “Jagi Badan Mein Jwala” is a dance sequence, and throughout the film Jayalalithaa exhibited her dancing talents for which the movie is still known more. She was also seen aside Dharmendra for the duet, Sar Par Lamba Top Leke sung by Asha Bhosle & Mohd Rafi. Music was composed by Laxmikanth-Pyarelal. Her single piece saris had a bit of skin show too.
Her screen chemistry with Dharmendra got noticed
Izzat was a failure at box office. However her screen pairing with Dharmendra, who was a star then, got noticed. She played a spunky adivasi girl who falls in love with a rich boy in the film, and film dealt with a social evil – skin colour and caste discrimination. Adivasi characters including Dharmendra were given brown skin colour, while Jaya appeared with fair complexion on big screen for the movie. Though her role got noticed, she never appeared on Bollywood screen later and fully switched on to south Indian screen where she grew up as a star.
Dharmendra poured a few words after her demise
Soon after the demise of Jayalalitha, Izzat and her co-star Dharmendra quickly came under spotlight. Many columns were written about this single Bollywood movie of Jaya in the lead role. She had only a single combination scene with the other heroine Tanuja for the movie, that too in the climax.
Dharmendra also poured a few words at this occasion. ‘She was dignified, graceful and quiet’ – that’s Dharmendra’s words about Jaya. Dharmendra also added that she used to be quiet in film scenes, and it was similar to the iconic role of his future wife Hema Malini in blockbuster Sholay. Jhumki was the screen name of Jayalalithaa in Izzat, and ‘Basanti’ was Hema’s name for Sholay.
The actor also recollected from his memory that shooting of Izzat was done at Kulu-Manali that extended for one and a half months, and Jaya’s mother used to prepare food for them.