Tuesday 3 January 2017

'Amma' by Vaasanthi

Let me first confess that I am an admirer of Dr J Jayalalitha for her administrative capacity, grit and determination, and ability to succeed in a man’s world. However, I have always been intrigued by her enigmatic life and complex personality. Vaasanthi’s semi-biographical work “Amma” throws some light on what made Jayalalitha, the movie star to become ‘Amma’, the successful politician. I have to mention that the narrative is gripping with a smooth flow, making the reading simply enjoyable.

Jayalalitha, a child who longed for her mother’s attention, excelled in her studies and nurtured an ambition of becoming a lawyer. However, due to family circumstances, she was persuaded to take up a career in films. The amazing aspect of her personality was to excel in anything she chose to do, be it dancing, studies, acting or later politics. The accounts of her classmates, friends and other associates in movies and politics throw insights into the vulnerable woman, who wanted nothing but a happy family, which she was not destined to have.  

Her political career was full of challenges, interspersed with humiliation, defeats, and even imprisonment. Though her first term as Chief Minister left a lot to be desired, she learnt from her mistakes and metamorphosed into “Amma” – the benevolent mother to the masses. In the end, even her critics had expressed admiration for the person she was. At a personal level, it is difficult not to identify with her trials, tribulations and triumphs.

She was talented, intelligent, beautiful and successful, yet lonely. Her life was a roller-coaster ride, nonetheless colourful and inspiring.  I strongly recommend this book for the fast-paced, engaging narrative.  

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