Following a court’s overturning of Jayaram Jayalalitha’s conviction for corruption, we received a film script made for the former film star, titled “Amma: the Goddess Returns”.
Scene: A full orchestra plays. Amma, the greatest Tamil actress of the 1960s and 1970s, appears in a colourful sari. As she dances, newspaper headlines flash across the screen: “Amma elected to run Tamil Nadu!” (1991). “Amma back in office” (2001). “Amma again!” (2011). “General election: landslide win for Amma in Tamil Nadu; quadruples her seats!” (April 2014).
Cut to: A screaming television anchor, Arnab Goswami. “Breaking news! History made in September 2014! Jailed! First time a sitting chief minister goes behind bars for corruption. Jayaram Jayalalitha, Amma, four-time chief minister, faces four years. We ask tough questions: how corrupt are our politicians?”
Cut to: Amma, convicted, is led to jail. Newspaper headlines flash. “Guilty of having disproportionate assets”. “Horror: Amma supporters kill selves”. “193 Amma supporters dead”.
Scene: A red court building, a dazzling hot day in May 2015. A huge crowd, tear-stained faces, shouting “Mother, mother”, “Amma is back”. From a window a 919-page court ruling flies out with a whoosh. A man with a thick moustache catches it, then calls out: “Oh happy mother’s day! Overturned! Overjoyed! Freed on appeal!” Crowd roars. Camera pans out to a huge billboard poster showing world leaders, led by Barack Obama, kissing Amma’s feet.
Cut to: Television news anchor. “Freedom for Amma! We ask tough questions: can we trust our courts?”
Cut to: Interior room with 10,500 saris, 91 designer watches, sparkling jewels, 750 pairs of shoes, 800 kilos of silver, 28 kilos of gold, company deeds and 44 air-conditioners. Loud jangly music. Amma, in late bloom of middle age, twirls happily, wiggles her hips, tears into pieces a price tag of “660m rupees”, scattering it like confetti. She steps to a window and sings to a crowd: “I am gold, pure, and tested / My legal wallahs can never be bested.” Men below beat their bare chests, sob, and sing back in unison: “Oh! This ruling is quite fortunate / We see your assets so proportionate / You’re not the least extortionate / Amma you’re the one!” Violins and xylophones play.
Scene: Amma skips through flower beds of Chennai’s municipal gardens, to the Tamil Nadu state assembly building. Inside she dances with a middle-aged man, filmed in black-and-white—the ghost of M.G. Ramachandran, revered film star, ex-chief minister, founder of the ruling party of Tamil Nadu. She croons: “Oh this will be my fifth-time lucky / Hug me quick my honey-ducky.” She continues: “Sing for me, darling, my resurrection / Perhaps I’ll call a snap election / The opposition’s all in tatters / I’m back in power, it’s all that matters.” They dance. Fade out as orchestra plays.