Tamil 'Superstar' Rajinikanth on 11 December paid rich tributes to late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, describing her as a 'kohinoor diamond' who had made her way up through difficulties in a male-dominated society.
At a condolence meeting, organised by the South Indian Artistes' Association or the Nadigar Sangam for Jayalalithaa and actor-journalist Cho S Ramaswami, Rajinikanth also recalled his strong statements against her during the 1996 Assembly polls, which had "hurt" her.
"I had hurt her. I was a key reason for her (party's) defeat," he said, referring to his criticism of the then AIADMK government.
The actor had then famously remarked that "even God can't save Tamil Nadu" if Jayalalithaa's AIADMK was elected to power again. The then DMK-TMC (Tamil Maanila Congress) combine had swept the polls amid strong anti-incumbency.
Jayalalithaa, however, later proved to be a leader with a golden-heart, Rajinikanth said.
Paying rich tributes to the former chief minister, he said it was with great difficulty that she could take over the reins of the AIADMK following the death of its founder and her political mentor MG Ramachandran and that she had even overtaken him in achievements.
He likened her to a diamond, saying the challenges of life had further polished her.
Having lost her father at the age of two and mother 20 years later, she faced various challenges including having no family but achieved fame by hard work in a male-dominated society, he said.
"Today, she is resting like a kohinoor diamond at the MGR memorial site and enjoys the love and affection of so many people," he added.
Hospitalised on September 22 and having suffered a cardiac arrest on December 4, 68-year-old Jayalalithaa died the next day.