Jayalalithaa was supposed to play female lead in Rajinikanth’s Billa. On Tuesday Trivia

Rajinikanth’s Billa, which released in 1980, was a huge commercial success and catapulted him to the top actor slot in Tamil cinema. In Billa, we have a don named Billa who is killed in a police encounter, and his lookalike who is then sent to infiltrate the gang and gather information about their covert operations. The movie had an ensemble cast with Sripriya as the female lead and Major Sundarrajan, Thengai Srinivasan, Manorama playing other roles.


An interesting trivia about the movie is that the female lead role essayed by Sripriya was initially offered to late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and former AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa. Jayalalithaa, who was a top film star in the 60s and 70s, however, was doing fewer films towards the end of 70s. A 1980-published article declared that it was because Jayalalithaa was struggling to get good roles.

Jaya was apparently irked by this article and in response, wrote a letter where she stated that she was ‘not struggling to stage a comeback’.

In the same letter written to Piousji of Khaas Baat, she pointed out that she has been turning down some excellent offers. Which ones? Rajinikanth’s Billa.

“Perhaps you don’t know that the heroine’s role in Balaji’s Billa, opposite Rajinikanth, was first offered to me. It was only after I refused to do the film, that Balaji signed Sripriya for the role. Everybody knows that Balaji is one of the foremost film producers in India today, and Rajinikanth is Tamil screen’s superstar. If I am capable of turning down such a dazzling offer, does that not prove conclusively that I am not in the least struggling to stage a comeback?” Jayalalithaa had written in the letter.

In the very same letter, Jayalalitha pointed out shat she was disinterested in pursuing a film career anymore. She said that she was well-off financially and can continue to live like a queen for the rest of her life.

Two years after the release of Billa, Jayalalithaa officially joined the AIADMK in 1982 and took on the party reins after the death of the founder-leader MGR. A strong leader, she was a six-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and ruled the state for 14 years garnering an immense and devout following throughout the state before her untimely demise in 2016.

A strong woman and leader, she was a six-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and stayed in power in the state for 14 years garnering an immense and devout following, until her untimely demise in 2016.


Billa was later remade in Tamil with Ajith in the lead role. The film, directed by Vishnuvardhan, released in 2007 and went on to receive rave reviews from the audience as well as critics.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply