Friday, March 21, 2008

'Soggadu' of Tollywood Sobhan Babu passes away

'Andhra Soggadu' Sobhan Babu died at his home in Chennai after he suffered a fatal spinal injury when he fell from the staircase.

Shobhan was 71 years old and is survived by four children — three daughters and one son

Born as Uppu Sobhana Chalapathi Rao to a middle-class family in a small village China Nandigama near Mylavaram Krishna District, Sobhan went on to become a romantic icon and was the top Tollywood hero for two decades. He made his film debut with Daivabalam directed by Vasanthkumar Reddy, but his first film to hit the screens was Bhakta Sabari.

Shobhan's Manushulu Maarali ran for 25 weeks, a record-breaking achievement in those days. He received the Filmfare Award four times, the Nandi Award five times and the AP Cine Goers Award eight times. The real surprise is that the Telugu actor won the Madras Cine Fan's Association's best actor award 9 times in his 40 years long career.

Although, Shobhan Babu was a widely acknowledged actor down south, he was never in favour of any of his children pursing acting as a career. He invested all his earnings safely in real estate business and settled down peacefully in Chennai.

The son of Uppu Suryanarayana Rao, he had has three sisters Dhanaranga, Jhansi and Nirmala, and a brother Sambasiva Rao.

He completed his schooling in Kuntamukkula Mylavaram. He pursued his Intermediate in Vijayawada and finished his degree at Andhra Christian College, Guntur. Later, he joined law course in Madras, but discontinued it.

He married Kanta Kumari on May 15, 1958; they had a son, Karuna Seshu and three daughters: Mrudula, Prashanti and Nivedita.

His first film was Bhakta Sabari. Chitrapu Narayana Murthy was his first director. His film Manushulu Maarali ran for 25 weeks which was a record at that time. His first colour film was Kannavari Kalalu.

He was popularly called as "Andhra Andagadu" meaning, "Most handsome person in Andhra Pradesh". He was honored with several Nandi Awards by the state of Andhra Pradesh Government. He was the most popular heroic actor for over 20 years. In fact, he was so popular that even to this day any good ladies family entertainer is referred to as "Shoban Babu type movie". He was honored with the honorific, "Natabooshana", which became his last name in movie credits.

Early days
Sobhan Babu made his debut in the film Daivabalam. After that he acted in many films playing small roles.

Veerabhimanyu (1965) was his first movie as a "solo hero". This movie turned out to be a big hit. However, he still played small roles in many films in order to earn money for his family. After the huge success of Manushulu Maarali, he acted in films until 1997.
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