At the recent JFW Awards, Jyothika gave a charged up speech on the women in her life and also thanked her female fans who have stood by her and come to see her films in large numbers.
Accepting her award from director Priyadharshan, a visibly emotional Jyothika said, "I believe that women empower women and my journey started at the age of 17. So, there are many women who are behind me. First, at the age of 17 was my mother. She's a ferocious lady. One day she told me, 'Jo, you have to stand here and face people, face the world.' She told me, 'I want money in your bank because if you haven't met the right man, keep your head high and walk out of the relationship. It's not worth it.' Thank you to my Amma for teaching me self-worth and self-respect."
Jyothika's mother is Seema Sadanah, who was born Shama Kazi. She was first married to textile magnate Arvind Morarji and later divorced him. She then married Chander Sadanah, Jyothika's father.
Jyothika said that she wouldn't say she was brought up like a son, but rather that she was brought up with equality.
She then went on to thank her mother-in-law, Lakshmi Sivakumar. Calling her a "queen" for raising a "prince" like her husband, actor Suriya, Jyothika said that she had learnt traditions and values from the latter.
It was rumoured at the time of her wedding with Suriya that the couple had waited till Suriya could convince his parents about the match. It was said that his parents, actor Sivakumar and wife Lakshmi, were against Jyothika continuing her career in the film industry. Jyothika quit films after she got married.
Interestingly, the first film she starred in on her return was 36 Vayadhiniley, which was about how women are forced to give up their dreams after marriage.
The actor next thanked her friends, Sarah and Nachi, who she said were "the wind beneath my wings."
The most special part of the speech, however, was when Jyothika thanked her daughter, Diya, who was seated with her grandmother, Lakshmi.
"Her smile every morning is my empowerment. She is the one who makes me very proud and I promise this to all of you that 10-15 years henceforth, I will make sure she stands on this dais, receiving this award. You're going to be strong, right, Diya?" she said, as her daughter grinned back at her.
To loud cheers and applause, Jyothika thanked her female fans who had gone to see her films in large numbers.
"There were bulk bookings for 36 Vayadhiniley and now Magalir Mattum is running to packed screens. It's all because of them," she said.
The actor ended her speech by saying, "Fall in love. But also rise in love. God has given us one life. Let's live it, let's conquer it, and let's own it because it is ours."
YouTube Video -