- Jayalalithaa adopted Sasikala's nephew Sudhakaran in 1995 and disowned him in 1996
- Sudhakaran's lavish marriage conducted by Jayalalithaa was one of the reasons for her defeat in 1996 elections
- The two had not met each other for more than 17 years now
The news that Jayalalithaa's foster son was not allowed inside the hospital during her illness should not come as a shock since she had disowned him way back in 1996.
It all began a long time ago when Jayalalithaa competed with yesteryear actor Sivaji Ganeshan in the cinematic and political field. Sivaji was a competitor of MG Ramachandran, who was Jayalalithaa's political guru.
Many decades later, in 1995, the thought of adoption seemed to have entered Jayalalithaa's mind when patron-turned-aide Sasikala’s nephew Sudhakaran got engaged to Sivaji Ganesan’s youngest daughter.
By this time Jayalalithaa was already one of the most powerful politicians in Tamil Nadu, and the state Chief Minister. In a surprise move, Jaya announced Sudhakaran would be adopted as her foster son and said she would conduct his marriage as his mother in 1995.
And what a marriage it was! Till date, it is considered one of the most expensive marriages in the country. Jayalalithaa, who was officially drawing just ₹1 as her salary, spent several crores.
In 1997, Sudhakaran claimed to Outlook that Jaya apparently hated the fact that whenever Sivaji entered a function, she was made to stand up and give him respect as a senior.
So by being Sudhakaran’s mother, she had reduced Sivaji to a daughter’s father, who had to ask the groom’s mother for every decision.
This was her way of dealing with him, he alleged.
After the marriage, Sudhakaran became a favourite of Jaya. There was even speculation that he would be her heir. But Sudhakaran began interfering in Jayalalithaa’s financial affairs.
It is alleged that he carried off a lot of her wealth, with no intention of repayment.
Jaya withdrew as Sudhakaran’s 'mother' just one year after his adoption.
In the same year, i.e., in 1996, Jayalalithaa was routed in the polls by a landslide. Ironically it was that marriage which proved her downfall. The lavish funds expended on the wedding (a sure sign of corruption) turned the majority of the electorate against her.
Sudhakaran, by now a wealthy man, moved on - starting JJ TV and the 'Chinna MGR Narpani Manram' (Junior MGR Fan Club).
In 2001, Sudhakaran was back in the news for his negative comments against Jayalalithaa. Shortly after that, his house was raided, a packet of heroin was seized along with an unlicensed gun and of course, Sudhakaran was arrested.
After this, the two maintained a significant distance from each other, even avoiding face-offs during the 2014 court hearing of the disproportionate assets case. The case had named Jayalalithaa, Sudhakaran, Sasikala and her niece, Ilavarasi.
And now Sudhakaran is back, visiting his foster-mother after nearly 20 years of silence and bitterness.
And why wouldn't he come? With the rumours of a will written by Jayalalithaa which named an actor as her successor doing the rounds, perhaps Sudhakaran was just hedging his bets.
It never hurts to try.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:40 PM IST