F for Fatafat Jayalakshmi. Fatafat Jayalakshmi debuted in K. Balachandar’s “Aval Oru thodarkathai” in 1974. In a career spanning less than a decade, she gave performances of a lifetime. It was a classic after classic. I had really a tough time choosing a movie to showcase.
The first movie I am going to talk about is Aval Oru Thodarkathai (1974). Written by M. S. Perumaal and screenplay & direction by K. Balachandar marked the arrival of Jayalakshmi in Tamil Cinema. She plays the role of Chandra, protagonist’s friend and often uses the word fatafat which became so famous that she was credited Fatafat Jayalakshmi from then on. As a distressed friend of Kavitha, the protagonist of the movie, she totally conquers the screen. She reprised her role in its Telugu remake Athuleni Katha(1976).
The second movie I wish to talk about is Mullum Malarum. Mullum Malarum(1978) directed by J. Mahendran is one of the best ever movies made in Tamil Cinema. The movie stars Rajnikanth, Shoba, Sarath Babu along with Fatafat Jayalakshmi. She portrays the role of Manga, a poor woman with aged mother to take care. Her role as a foodie is still fresh. What makes this character interesting is the beautiful character arc in the movie. As a fun-filled joyous girl to a committed woman who is filled with guilt. The matured and subtle act she shows in the later part of the movie shows her versatility. The movie is filled with incredible actors and marks one of the best ever performances of Rajnikanth.
The third movie I wish to talk about is Kavikkuyil(1977). Kavikkuyil is written by Panchu Arunachalam and directed by the director duo Devaraj Mohan. The story revolves around Gopi(Sivakumar) and Radha(Sridevi) who are in love and in an accident Gopi loses his memory. Rajnikanth acts a brother to Sridevi and Jalayakshmi essays the role of a Lakshmi who is madly in love with Rajnikanth. Her performance to woo Murugan(Rajnikanth) and make him understand her love is lovely and it captivates everyone. Her performance in the movie got shadowed by the brilliant performances of Sridevi, Sivakumar and Rajnikanth yet it is one of the most memorable performances of Jayalakshmi. Watch the movie below.
The final movie which I wish to talk is what I consider my personal favourite among all of her performances is Aarilirunthu Arubathu Varai(1979). The movie was written by Panchu Arunachalam and directed by SP Muthuraman stars Rajnikanth in the lead as Santhanam. The story talks about the struggle of the eldest son in the family who tries hard to make everyone in the family happy. How he sacrifices everything for his family and was not even respected for what he did forms the crux of the story. This somewhat resembles a male version of Aval Oru Thodarkathai. Jayalakshmi plays the role of Lakshmi, wife of Santhanam. The only person who is been with him through all the struggles. Her role showcases the struggle of every wife, every woman, every mother and every daughter. There is no other character that can portray the struggling wife, subtle love and small happiness more than this. Rajnikanth’s career best in a non-Mahendran movie in my humble opinion. Watch this movie below and you can’t control the gushing tears and it’s definitely worth it.
Incidentally/Accidentally all the 4 movies I mentioned features Rajnikanth. As he essayed the role of Jai Ganesh in Telugu version and often the famous Deivam Thantha Veedu is associated with Rajnikanth more than Jai Ganesh.
Shoba, her co-star in Mullum Malarum and Jayalakshmi, both committed suicide in the year of 1980. It indeed was a great loss for the Industry.