Jayamala, (Kannada ಜಯಮಾಲಾ), is a Kannada (Indian) film actress. Her famous films are Giri Kanye, Shankar Guru, Aaj Ka Ye Ghar, Sampoorna Teerth Yatra, Balak, Spy in Rome, Love and Murder and Harishchandra Taramati. She has also produced a movie Aaj Ka Ye Ghar.
Jaimala was born on February 28, 1959, in Dakshina Kannada district. Her father G Omaiah is an agriculturist and mother Kamalamma , a homemaker. She has six sisters and a brother. They moved to Chikmagalur in 1963 after being displaced due to the harbour work in Panambur.She was earlier married to Kannada Film actor Tiger Prabhakar. She is presently married to cinematographer H M Ramachandra.She has a daughter, Soundarya.an aspiring actor.
Jayamala is a multifaceted personality in the Kannada film industry having been a leading lady in the eighties and later turned producer making many award-winning artistic films.
Jayamala has acted in several movies in Kannada, Tulu, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. She has acted with several big Kannada stars like Vishnuvardhan, Ambareesh, Rajkumar, Shankar Nag and Prabhakar. She had several hits like Shankar Guru, Giri kanye , etc.
Her first production venture Thaayi Saaheba was directed by Girish Kasaravalli and it won a National award. Jayamala received a special jury award for her brilliant performance in the film. She has also produced a children's film Thuttoori which won both National and State Government awards.
As a treasurer in the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, the actress has taken active interest in many activities of the Kannada film producers association. In 2008 Jayamala became the first woman president of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC).
Jayamala created history of sorts when she became the only actress in the Indian film industry to be conferred a doctorate for writing a thesis, She wrote a thesis on the rehabilitation of rural woman in Karnataka. The thesis required her to tour many places in Karnataka and also scrutinise many documents. The doctorate was conferred by the Bangalore University on 18 January 2008 and presented by former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam.
She was the centre of the cyclone when she claimed that she touched the Lord Ayyappa idol in Sabarimala. Women from the age 10-50 are banned from entering sabarimala. It created a furor in India and led to ideological warfare in Indian media and courts.
The crux of the controversy lies in her claim that she had touched and prayed for her late husband's health at the famous Indian hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala in Kerala state in April 1987. Women who are fertile are barred from the temple because of the legend that Lord Ayyappa, to whom the temple is dedicated, was a celibate and confirmed.
A minister in the Communist state government has also taken a serious view of the actress's statement. "She is liable for prosecution if what she said is true," said G Sudhakaran. Jayamala has said she regretted her action, but clarified that she was pushed into the shrine by a crowd of devotees.
"I fell flat on the floor, touching the feet of the Lord. It was a moment of ecstasy. I didn't know then that I wasn't supposed to touch the idol," she told reporters. "When I got up, a priest standing nearby gave presented me a rose. As I came out, devotees touched me in veneration because I had felt the Lord."
The Supreme Priest of Sabarimala Kantararu Maheshwararu had dismissed the actress's statement as a figment of her imagination. "How could Jayamala, then 27 years old, slip through several rungs of security and reach the innermost precincts of the Lord where women between puberty and menopause are strictly barred from entering?," he said.
The controversy is not going to die down since Hindu activists have demanded a proper atonement by those defiled the temple, especially by Jayamala. And the case whether women should be allowed in Sabarimala is considered by Supreme Court. Some four to five crore devotees worship at the temple every year. The shrine earns revenues worth ten thousand crores of rupees from pilgrims from all over the country.