Under the guidance of her mentor Puratchi Thalaivar Dr.M.G.R., she entered Politics and became a Member in A.I.A.D.M.K., in 1982; In January 1983 she was appoointed as the Propaganda Secretary of A.I.A.D.M.K; In February 1983, she was chosen by Dr. M.G.R. to conduct her maiden election campaign for the A.I.A.D.M.K., candidate in the bye-election to the Tiruchendur Assembly Constitutency. Her election campaign was a trial blazer securing an astounding victory for the Party candidates agaisnst all odds; In 1984 she was elected as a Member of Parliament to the Rajya Sabha and retained the seat until she was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 1989; When Dr.M.G.R., fell ill and was under medical treatment in the U.S.A., the A.I.A.D.M.K., had to fight the General Elections to the Lok Sabha and to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in December 1984. In the absence of Dr.M.G.R., she took his place and spear-headed the alliance of the A.I.A.D.M.K., and the Congress (I) securing a massive victory for the alliance; After the demise of Dr. M.G.R. in 1987, the A.I.A.D.M.K. Party split vertically into two. As the General Secretary of the Party she contested the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in January 1989 and was elected from Bodinayakkanur; She became the first Woman Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly; In February 1989, the two factions of the A.I.A.D.M.K., reunited under her singular Leadership and she was unanimously elected to the post of the General Secretary of the unified A.I.A.D.M.K., In 1989 she restored the 'Two Leaves' election symbol to the A.I.A.D.M.K., Party. In the 1989 General Elections to the Lok Sabha, she steered the A.I.A.D.M.K. - Congress (I) alliance to a historic victory in the State of Tamil Nadu and the Pondicherry Unioin Territory; Thereafter she secured victories for the A.I.A.D.M.K., in all the subsequent by-elections to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly from Marungapuri, Madurai East and Peranamallur Assembly Constituencies; Won a magnificent Victory by contesting in both Bargur and Kangeyam Constituencies during the General Elections to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly held in 1991; Moreover, she single-handedly ensured a massive Victory for her party and the alliance by winning 225 Constituencies out of 234. Subsequently, she resigned the Kangeyam Assembly seat she had won, and made her Party candidate contest in that Constituency and made him secure an astounding Victory; Further, she was instrumental for the historic 100 percent Victory of the AIADMK and its alliance in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry held simultaneously in 1991 General Elections to 40 Lok Sabha Constituencies, in which the alliance led by her swept to a historic Victory by winning all the 40 Lok Sabha Seats (39 in Tamil Nadu and one in Pondicherry). She was elected from Andipatti Assembly Constituency in February 2002 and May 2006; Elected from Srirangam Assembly Constituency in May 2011; Chief Minister from 24.06.1991 to 12.05.1996, from 14.05.2001 to 21.09.2001, from 02.03.2002 to May 2006 and from 16.05.2011.
Award & Titles conferred
Honoured with the Award 'Kalaimamani' by the Tamil Nadu Government in 1972; The University of Madras on 19th December 1991 has honoured her by conferring on her the Degree of Doctor of Literature (D.Ltt.) Honoured with the Golden Star of Honour and Dignity Award by the International Human Rights Defense Committee, Ukraine. Honoured with the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition and Life-time achievement Award by the Rotary International.
U.S.A., Singapore, Malaysia, Hongkong, Thailand, Japan, Nepal.
Reading, Music, Agriculture.
Publications / Contributions
Written several articles in English and Tamil which have been published in various periodicals. Written four full length novels and several short stories in Tamil.
She was educated at the Bishop Garden Girls' High School in Bangalore and later at the Presentation Convent Church Park in Madras. On completion of Matriculation in 1964, she won a scholarship from the Government of India for higher studies but did not accept it as she took up a career in films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, English and Malayalam. She was trained in classical dance (Bharatha Natyam) and carnatic music from the age of 4 onwards. She is proficient in other dance-forms such as Mohini Attam, Kathak, Manipuri. She has given hundreds of performances in Bharatha Natyam all over India and has sung several songs herself in her films. She is proficient in English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and can understand Malayalam very well.