V. N. Janaki

Janaki Ramachandran (30 November 1923[citation needed] – 19 May 1996, née Vaikom Narayani), commonly known as V. N. Janaki,[1] was an Indian politician, activist and the first woman Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. She was the third wife of the actor and politician M. G. Ramachandran.

Janaki Ramachandran
Janaki Ramachandran in Mohini film
4th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
In office
7 January 1988 – 30 January 1988
GovernorSundar Lal Khurana
Preceded byV. R. Nedunchezhiyan (Acting)
Succeeded byPresident's rule
ConstituencyDid not contest
Personal details
Vaikom Narayani Janaki

(1923-11-30)30 November 1923[citation needed]
Vaikom, Travancore Kingdom, British India (present-day Kerala, India)
Died19 May 1996(1996-05-19) (aged 72)[citation needed]
Madras, Tamil Nadu, India[citation needed]
Cause of deathCardiac Arrest
Resting placeM.G.R Thottam
Political partyAll India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
  • Ganapathy Bhat
    (m. 1939; div. 1961)

    (m. 1963; died 1987)
ResidenceM.G.R Thottam
Raamapuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Film actress
  • politician

She was the 4th Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for 24 days from 7 January 1988, when her cabinet and the state assembly were collectively dissolved by the Government of India due to failures relating to law and order.

Background and first marriageEdit

Janaki was born in the town of Vaikom in Kottayam district of Travancore[2] into a family with ties to both Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Her father, Rajagopal Iyer, was a Tamil Brahmin hailing from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, and was the brother of Papanasam Sivan, the musician and composer.[3] Her mother, Narayani Amma, belonged to Vaikom and was of a Keralite matrilineal caste. Janaki married twice. Her first husband was Ganapathy Bhat whom she married in 1939. The couple had one son called Surendran.[4] Later, in 1963, she married the Tamil cinema actor M. G. Ramachandran, with whom she had no children.[5]

Film career and second marriageEdit

Janaki became a moderately successful actress in the late 1940s. She starred in more than 25 movies including Mohini (1948), Raja Mukthi, Velaikaari, Aiyiram Thalaivangiya Aboorva Chintamani, Devaki and Marudhanaattu Ilavarasi. Many of her hits were in films where her future husband, Ramachandran, played the lead role, and she played either the heroine (Marudhanaattu Ilavarasi) or a major supporting role (Raja Mukthi, Velaikkaari etc.). The first film where the two acted together was Mohini (1948), which was the first real blockbuster for both of them.[citation needed]

Soon, Janaki and Ramachandran fell in love. Ramachandran had been married twice before this but both his wives had died of illnesses by this time. Janaki and her husband Ganapathi had never become reconciled to each other, although they still remained married. Ganapathi and Janaki both knew that they could not live with each other, both of them had built other lives for themselves, and their son Surendran was then over 20 years old. They petitioned for divorce on grounds of adultery, and secured a divorce which ended their marriage of more than 20 years.[citation needed]

Janaki and Ramachandran married in 1963. Janaki, who had been relegated to less significant film roles as she aged, withdrew from films and devoted herself to domesticity. The couple did not have any children. Ramachandran (who had no children by any of his wives) is alleged to have taken an affectionate interest in the well-being of his step-son Surendran.[5]


This is a partial filmography. You can expand it.


Year Film Role Notes
1939 Manmatha Vijayam As dancer


Year Film Role Notes
1940 Krishnan Thoothu As dancer
1940 Mummanigal As dancer
1941 Kacha Devayani As dancer
1941 Savithiri As dancer
1942 Ananthasayanam Sarasa
1942 Gangavathar Heavenly maiden
1943 Devakanya Chitraleka
1944 Bharthruhari Pingala's companion
1945 Maanasamrakshanam
1946 Sakata Yogam As lead actress
1947 Pankajavalli
1947 Chitra Bagavali
1947 Thiyagi
1947 1000 Thalaivangi Apoorva Chinthamani Apoorva Chinthamani
1948 Chandralekha a gypsy girl
1948 Raja Mukthi Queen Mrinalini
1948 Mohini Mohini
1949 Velaikaari Sarasa


Year Film Role Notes
1950 Marudhanaattu Ilavarasi Princess Rani
1950 Laila Majnu Zarina
1950 Chandrika Malayalam
1951 Devaki Devaki
1953 Naam Meena


Year Film Role Notes
1960 Vijayapuri Veeran as dancer Last film

Political careerEdit

Ramachandran swept the elections of 1977 and took office as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He remained Chief Minister from that time until the day of his death in 1987. Janaki was at his side throughout, but only as a devoted wife. She played no role and took little interest in his political activities or in matters of state. Ramachandran groomed other young leaders of his party for political responsibility, including the actress Jayalalithaa, with whom he was said to share a great professional rapport.[citation needed]

Nevertheless, when Ramachandran died in 1987, Janaki was asked by party members to take his place. In deference to their wishes, Janaki Ramachandran (as she was now known) became Chief minister in January 1988, shortly after her husband's death. Her government lasted only 24 days, the shortest in the history of Tamil Nadu.[6] She took his place as the Leader of the AIADMK party, which subsequently split into two factions.

Her ministry went for a sensitive vote of confidence of the Eighth Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in January 1988. This was because AIADMK coalition with 194 MLAs had split into 3 factions, with one faction supporting Jayalalitha (30 MLA) and other supporting the new CM Janaki (101). The Congress party, under the directive of its national chief and then PM Rajiv Gandhi, had decided to completely vote neutral. The opposition severely demanded secret singular voting in the assembly, on the day of vote. But the speaker, rejected this. The speaker was a Janaki supporter, and had already disqualified 30 MLA of Jayalalitha faction, and also 15 MLA of DMK from MLA office, the previous day. He had also decreed that the cabinet must garner support of MLAs, who were physically present in the assembly at the time of vote. So instead of proving majority in 234 with just 101, Janaki had to prove majority in 198, which was easily possible. So, the speaker silenced the assembly, and called for vote. The DMK and AIADMK MLAs clashed within assembly, and many were injured bloodily, including the speaker. Without alternative, the speaker requested the CM to protect the house, and as a last measure, the CM called police into the house to quell the riot. Police and goons (disguised as police) clashed with each other. In midst of all these problems, the speaker announced unilaterally that the cabinet had won motion of confidence, and then ordered everyone to leave the hall, and he himself left the hall.[citation needed]

But the Central Government under Rajiv Gandhi, refused to accept this motion of confidence, and used Article 356 of the Constitution of India to dismiss her government in February the same year. Her party was subsequently defeated in the next elections that were held in 1989. She quit politics after the unification of the two factions of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.[7] As a result, Janaki remains the only chief minister on record without ever winning a legislative election.[citation needed]


She died of a cardiac arrest on 19 May 1996. She was buried beside her residence at MGR Thottam in Raamapuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.


Janaki Ramachandran gifted her property in Avvai Shanmugham Salai (Lloyds Road) in honour of her husband to the AIADMK. It subsequently became the headquarters of the party in 1986.[8] She was the founder chairman of The Satya Educational & Charitable Society managing many free educational institutions in Chennai. She gave property worth many million of dollars for the establishment of educational and charitable institutions in Tamil Nadu. She was also instrumental in setting up the Janaki Ramachandran Educational & Charitable Trust.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Leading lady". S.H. Venkatramani. India Today. 31 January 1988. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  2. ^ "The 'leading' lady". Vincent DSouza. The Week. 10 January 1988. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  3. ^ Guy, Randor (30 July 2016). "Thyagi (1947)". The Hindu. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  4. ^ "M G Ramachandran autobiography copyright belongs to Janaki son, rules HC". A Subramani. Times of India. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Janaki's son alone has copyright to MGR's autobiography: court". The Hindu. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Jayalalithaa : A political career with sharp rises and steep falls". The Hindu. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Jayalalitha Childhood Photos: MGR : Unbelievable Facts PART1". Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  8. ^ "MGR Memorial House". Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Janaki Donations". Archived from the original on 26 September 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2013.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
M. G. Ramachandran
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Succeeded by