Yesteryear celebrities recall golden moments when Jayalalithaa was an actor

Veda Nilayam at Poes Garden, normally a beehive of political activity, was the scene of an apolitical reunion on Friday.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa invited a group of actors of yesteryear fame, playback singer P. Susheela and her close friend and journalist Cho Ramasamy for lunch and relived the good old days when they worked together in the film world.

Most of those present had also acted with Chief Minister’s mother Sandhya. There were Jamuna, Saroja Devi, Kumari Sachu, Anjali Devi, Sowcar Janaki, Rajashree and Sukumari.

Mr. Ramasamy’s association with the Chief Minister dates back 58 years. She was seven years old and he was 21 then. Both Ms. Jayalalithaa and her mother Sandhya had acted with him in plays. Later, Mr. Ramasamy acted in number of movies in which Ms. Jayalalithaa played the female lead opposite M.G.R, Sivaji Ganesan and Jaishankar.

Mr. Ramasamy recalled a particular incident while staging the play ‘Undersecretary’ by Ms.Y.G. Parthasarathy. He would deliver impromptu dialogues and Sandhya would complain that he was going beyond the script. But Ms Jayalalithaa, who also acted in the play, would be unfazed and cope with the situation quite easily.

How does he feel in the company of so many famous women today? “Usually people complain that I am a male chauvinist. But the group photograph taken today proves I am not,” said Mr. Ramasamy.

Sachu, a couple of years older to Ms. Jayalalithaa, but entered the film world as a child artiste and acted with Ms. Jayalalithaa’s mother Sandhya, said Friday’s get-together was a rare occasion. “She has a graphic memory and recalled every incident of those days.

She used Telugu and Tamil alternately while speaking to Susheelama and Jamuna in Telugu and switched over to Kannada when conversing with Saroja Devi and spoke in Malayalam while talking to Sukumari,” said Ms Sachu.

Playback singer Susheela said it was one of the most memorable meetings. “It was so lovely meeting everyone. I could see that the Chief Minister was very happy. The lunch was great and later, and all of us posed individually for photographs with her.”