EXCLUSIVE Within minutes, Jayalalithaa and I were singing ‘aaja sanam’: Simi Garewal recalls her famous TV interview with Amma

Narrated Simi, “The year was 1999. “Our conversation took off on a life of its own. She was an amazing person. Talking to indianexpress.com, Simi said, “Jayalalithaaji had seen the previous seasons of my show and she had liked it. I was warned she could be imperious and difficult. In the first 3-4 minutes of the interview, I sensed she was making a quick assessment of me. Right from delving into her shy childhood to dabbling in films and politics to talking about why she never ever got married, Jayalalithaa spoke like never before, a fact she herself admitted towards the end of the interview. Therefore getting her to be a part of the show was not difficult. Punctual to the second, she arrived at 4.28 for our 4.30pm shoot. Even temperamental. Written by Sonup Sahadevan
| Mumbai |

Updated: December 6, 2016 2:10 pm

Simi Garewal recalls her iconic Jayalalithaa interviewbengalu
If you really want to see one of most exhaustive yet brilliant television interviews of Jaylalithaa, look no further than the one conducted by Simi Garewal for her popular chat show Rendezvous with Simi Garewal way back in 1999. Something must have clicked in her intuition for soon she dropped her guard and a few minutes later we were singing ‘Aaja sanam’,” said Simi. Simi points out that during the course of entire conversation, she and Jayalalithaa spoke more like friends having a freewheeling chat. Just two human beings connected and travelling together into the depths of experiences and feelings.” It was like there were no cameras whirring, no clock ticking. So I went to Chennai armed with some apprehension but also fascination for a woman who held her own in the patriarchal politics of the South.The reality of meeting and talking to Jayalalithaaji was something I could not have anticipated. The media had tried to analyse her as a politician and I felt it was far more important to try and understand her first as a human being.”
The shoot was scheduled to start rolling at 4.30 pm and a punctual to a fault Jayalalithaa walked in two minutes prior to her call time. My impression of Jayalalithaa was confined to what I had read about her in the media. She seemed quite aloof and hardly spoke a word before the cameras rolled and the interview began. She didn’t shy away from answering any of my questions.”
Before meeting Jayalalithaa, Simi was aware of the different images of the late CM floating in the media, some of which highlighted her as temperamental and difficult to deal with. After her unfortunate demise on Monday night, Simi couldn’t help but remember with a heavy heart the interview that gave her a chance to understand one of the Indian politics most enigmatic personalities from close quarters. “She was grace itself.