Seldom has a tinsel town star dominated the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu's political scene as much as late Jayalalithaa Jairam.
No wonder, therefore, that leading stars from both Bollywood and southern cinema, including big names like Rajinikanth, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and music maestro A R Rahman, mourned the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa terming her as a "charismatic leader" who had “great connect” with people.
Jayalalithaa, an actress-turned-politician, hospitalised since September 22, suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday and passed away on December 5 in Chennai at the age of 68.
Veteran actor Dharmendra, who worked with Jayalalithaa in "Izzat", her debut in Hindi cinema, said he was shocked to hear the news of her passing away.
"It is shocking for me because she was my co-star in 'Izzat' in 1968. We were on outdoors together for almost one and half months in Kulu-Manali. Those were good times. She was a lovely person and very cordial. She often cooked south Indian food for me. She was a great human being," Dharmendra said.
Another actress-turned-politician Hema Malini said Jayalalithaa's demise was a huge loss as people loved and admired her.
Before joining politics in the 1980s, Jayalalithaa was an actress who appeared in 140 films, including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi (only one named 'Izzat'). As a leading actress in films from 1961 to 1980, she was considered both prolific and versatile, performing in different genres and essaying a wide variety of roles. She was also known for her dancing skills and at one time was referred to as the 'Queen of Tamil Cinema'.