Mov(ie)ing memories

Target audience for this post:

  • People who have watched Telugu movies of the 70s
  • People who find a special joy in watching the stud-heroes of Telugu movies of the 70s
  • My cousin, a fan of Telugu movies of the 70s, who will stop talking to me after reading this post
  • Nice, sweet, wonderful people who will read anything I write (and hopefully not notice my use of multiple adjectives to sweet-talk them)

Yes, this is a something new I am trying out. Niche markets are common and products are often designed for specific target audiences. So why not my posts? (Saying this, she hid under the table while the Marketing MBAs in the audience heckled and laughed at her) Considering that I write about a lot of arbit things, and not everyone who comes to my blog will find every pearl of wisdom to be .. well .. a pearl, I shall henceforth warn you of the impending attack so you have a chance to escape. Of course, if you do not fit the target audience and still have an opinion to share, kindly ignore my attempt to stereotype you, and feel free to comment. Moving on to the subject of the post ..

A conversation with a friend reminded me of this. There used to be a Telugu actor with the impressive name of Sobhan Babu who was a firm believer in the number three. He often delivered punchlines in multiples of three. Imagine this — 45-year old Sobhan Babu in industrial strength makeup and an oh-so-believable wig that is perfectly gelled into place save the one curl that dangerously hangs on his forehead. We shall call this fine specimen of manhood — The Agitated Hero. Enter harassed wife waiting at home, looking grungy and grimey with an expression of perpetual suffering. I am unable to feed your three kids, the expression cries. The agitated hero has just lost his job. He needs solace, he needs support and comfort. He takes a step forward, pauses, flicks back the gelled curl with the back of his hand, takes two more steps towards his wife who stands in front of him and calls out in a voice full of anguish — Lakshmiii, Lakshmiiiii, Lakshmiiiiiii!

For anyone who doubts the effectiveness of this scene — there isn’t a single person in the audience who has any doubt left in their mind that the heroine’s name is Lakshmi.

That concludes our pointless peek into a cinematic moment from my childhood.

30 thoughts on “Mov(ie)ing memories

  1. gvenum

    ..ROFLMAO…Glad to be posting again:)… I guess I belong to the 1,2,4 categories. Its the arbit things(u write) that you excel at.(no offense to other stuff you write)

    “Shoban Babu” is one wierd phase in telugu industry. May be they can re-run all those movies as comedy movies now.

    There is one mimicry cassette “Sridevi Pelli” which has the imitations of all the telugu actors/actresses. Tried to find on the web but could only come across this small piece from the original. The whole cassette is about actress Sridevi’ marriage with Chiranjeevi before she elopes with Jeetendra:)…*sigh*
    This is as real imitation as it gets.

    BTW, Loved the post.

    Here’s the link.

  2. Sivani

    LOL – but to be fair, doesn’t that scenario remind you of all too many episodes of the original Star Trek?

    (Maybe without the grimey wife…)

  3. U totally Rock Dude !

    Yo Megha !!
    Long time … and am hoping to be back on the blogging scene now ! kool n funny post … liked ur Swimmy too ! :-D … but how cud u forget ofcourse the PT master NTR with the orange pants and green shirt dancing with SriDevi ! hahahah !!

    nice post !

    - Crush

  4. Sagnik Nandy

    You wont believe this! A friend of mine recently mentioned something very similar to me. Yanyways, I must add that in Bengali movies they use silence as the key element of drama – where one character uses silence to build tension.

    hero: you killed my wife. how do you want to punished. tell me?
    hero: i am talking to you. i want to hear u scream.
    hero: talk to me, talk to me, talk to me

  5. Sriram

    Youvar Haanar, next time you talk about bad telugu movies, i will curse you with all my secret black magic powers. unlike you, i was awake in black magic 101. so no more references to crappy telugu/tamil/mallu/hindi movies. Ok, i admit that recollecting these scenes are funny, but don’t they leave a bad taste in the mouth?

  6. Paddy

    Ahh! Shoban Babu.I was told that the theater which played his movies was flocked by housewives (Owing to lack of soap operas at that time).I have also noted that the ratio of female to male population of his audiences is atleast 51%

    What can we say..He was a man for his time :)

  7. pingoo

    Shobhan babu !! u know he used to be number 3 on my list of favourite actors lol…(when I was thissssss little) first on list was Mega Star Chiru came Superstar Krishna and then came our “talk of the blog” Shobhan babu !(list was purely based on how much I liked their country style fights).

    The one curl that dangerously hangs on his forehead was so very Shobhan babu style ..The wig thing is so true…I saw him once at the airport long time ago and I could hardly spot a few strands of hair and there :p. Also, if there is something to laugh about in his movies….u can count on the dance sequences !! I love to laugh on those yesteryear tollywood matka-jhatka type songs :d.

  8. Prasad

    hmm, even though I’m not a part of the target audience, I’m commenting on this… hmm malayalam movies r similar to Bengali movies where in silence is an essential element as sagnik said in his comments… :) mostly the art type….
    whereas telugu n tamil movies r really colorful and masala-mix movies… right??

  9. Vignesh

    Hilarious, almost to the point of being unbelievable that anyone could come up with such rot. But yes, they do. And the only thing I want to say is that they still do. All over South India. Except mallu-land. Where they make mostly softcore porn and artsy movies. Both of which follow Sagnik’s pattern of silence. Slowness and silence builds character.

  10. shantanu

    i just happened to watch a few scenes of old telugu movies (translated courtesy a colleague who was wathcing em on his workstation) and they just made my stomach churn as i cudnt stop laughing..

  11. Fun_Da_Mental

    LOL!! Gal… how do you manage to write such fundoo stuff?!! Gifted writer that you are… goshhh this post reminded me of a lot of things:

    -My days of sulking in marketing classes
    -Ranjnikant’s ishtayil of effortlessly jumping from ground floor to 4th floor
    -And Rajnikant again for cutting a bullet into two parts and killing two ppl

    By the way I belong to 4th category of ppl who understand the use of multiple adjectives to sweet-talk themselves and still read whatever you write. :D You rock Meghs!!

  12. Mustang

    havent seen any telegu movies…’m 4th category reader. u can keep more adjectives flowing.

    come to think of it, u get 3 times ur money vasool!! its like watching 3 movies at cost of one.

  13. Nidhi :)

    *wah kya scene hein* :p

    + 1 .. one more reader in ur 4th category! :D

    *laxmiiiii* oopz i mean
    *meghaaaaaaaa* dont know much.. nah rather say anything about telgu films.. (except have watched few of rajnikanthz movies hindi :p) but as soon as u mentioned *one curl that dangerously hangs on his forehead* i knewwwwww itt!!
    yo have seen him in manyyyy trailors ..long back!!!

    n that laxmi scene reminds of *NAHIN* scene often seen in hindi movies.. *nahinnnnnnn megha..* *bloggin kabhi mat chodnaaa* *nahinnnnnn* :p

    yo tak care.. :p

  14. tilotamma

    May I just say that Telugu movies offered quite a bit of fun even for non-speakers of Telugu like myself.
    Even I can get nostalgic for it :-).

    Sobhan Babu – name rings a bell for completely different reasons.
    Readers of Tamil political news might know what I am talking about.

  15. Megha

    [Rohit] In response, I shall wear lots of eye make up, have a high two-storey hairdo and strike a sad pose with a lone tear trickling down. No dialogues. The silence in the air shall give expression to Megha’s thoughts after all!

    [gvenum] Thank you! I shall try and write more arbit stuff, in that case! Although, to be honest, I don’t really have to try ;) I’d heard a lot about the Sridevi pelli audio-skit and now, thanks to your Coolgoose pointer, I know why it’s so talked about :) Brought back such fond memories of Rao Gopal Rao! Hallo hallo hallo hallo hallooooooo! :)

    [chugs] But why did you have to sell your memories in the first place? ;) Sorry sorry, shame on me for using your typo to make a wisecrack :) Yeah, I’m sure the wigs are going to remain a part of the makeup cupboard for all eternity!

    [Sivani] Very true. And now, thanks to you, I have this mental image of Captain Kirk going Lakshmi Lakshmiii Lakshmiiiii to a grimey alien wife :) However, the wigged Telugu hero existed way back in the early 50s (when Sobhan Babu was in his diapers?) so it precedes the classic-Trek era even, don’t you think?

    [U totally Rock Dude] Thank you! And it’s great to see you back, Crush! How’ve you been lately? Hope to see you blog more often :)

    [Sagnik] *chuckle* :) Hilariously put! And you are right, I don’t believe it. What an uncanny coincidence indeed! :)

    [Sriram] I object to the ‘bad taste in the mouth‘ comment, milord! Recollecting such scenes and mocking them is one of the great joys of life! You can be sure I’ll be sharing more of these moments in the future, so get your voodoo tricks all ready and setup :)

    [Paddy] A total ladies’ man indeed. Always had a minimum of two heroines vying for his attention. Amazing how some undeserving men have all the luck, eh? :)

    [pingoo] Don’t even get me started on dance sequences. Especially Krishna, as you pointed out! The most memorable moment that comes to mind with him is from Simhasanam (1986), simultaneously made as Singhasan (1986) in Hindi with Jeetendra. During the ‘aakasamulo oka taara‘ song – when he has one finger up in the air pointing (presumably) at the sky .. going jhoom jhoom jhoom jhoom tana jhoom. I simply cannot do justice to that moment in words.

    And Chiru .. he deserves a separate blog post! Plus, I have an interesting story on that topic that I need to share and embarrass myself :)

    [Prasad] Of course you are part of the target audience. See point #4 above please :) But yes, Telugu films are certainly colorful. This is not to say meaningful cinema is not made in Andhra-land. But for every genuinely good movie, there are at least twenty masala dhinchak ones, striving to maintain the balance :) And Mallu art movies – I have more to say on that in another blog post!

    [Vignesh] Your (and Prasad’s) mention of silence and slowness in Mallu art movies has inspired me to write a blog about another favorite cinematic moment from my childhood. Thankoo for providing me with more fodder for writing :)

    [shantanu] It’s so much fun, that I don’t care that the comedy is purely unintentional! :)

    [shub] Thank you! Glad you dropped by. Hope to see you around more often :)

    [Fun_Da_Mental] Glad the sweet-talking continues to be effective :) And you are too kind! I write such stuff because people like Sobhan Babu exist, so all credit goes to him! :) And this one post’s comments has given me material for at least four more blog posts. Thank you for mentioning Rajnikanth! :)

    [Mustang] I like how you’ve managed to see the positive in the situation. Good to see you around after a long time! And the fourth category continues to grow by leaps and bounds! *wiping away tears of happiness*

    [Nidhi] Yay another fourth category :) Yes the curl is what completes the look. Oh and .. *solemn expression on face* ab tumne keh diya hai, to tumhaari baat sar aakhon par, Nidhi. Ab chahe kuchh bhi ho jaaye, koi bhi toofan iss Megha ko blogging se nahin rok paayega. Ye mera vaada hai.. hai.. hai.. hai.. (echo effect fading into background) :)

    [tilotamma] Ah, is he active in Tamil Nadu politics now? I have no clue what the guy is up to lately. I think he has a daughter who is a painter/artist of some sort? Not too sure.

  16. Kapilash

    Just came across this amazing blog. In the wholu warald, this is the bestttu bulogu.
    I plead Gulty for choosing this one, among all the cool topics , to give my precious comments.
    I plead Gulty of another trait of mine too – I pay few comments but make tons of demands. I shamelessly request for your blogs on :

    1. Krishnam Raju. Rebel star Rocks. Totally. (if SRK watches the super-macho KR in moratodu/riksha rudraiyya/rangoon rowdy/ukku manishi, he will be so ashamed of his meterosexual self that he would swallow that lux beaty soap and drown himself in that bath-tub)
    2. Murali Mohan – The precursor of the not-afraid-to-shed-tears-at-the-drop-of-a-hat meterosexual.
    3.J.V.Somayajulu. (I shudder to imagine his reaction to shoban babu’s lakshmi-lakshmi-lakshmi routine:”..nidra lo ullikki padi lechina bidda ‘amma’ ani okala antadu. meghalomania chadivina papadu ‘amma’ ani maroka vidhanga antaadu – okkokka anubhooti ki okko nirdishtamaina naadamundi, sruti undi swaram undi…”
    4.Andhra villains – giri babu ( especially as the worst kind – the scheming, unemployed son-in-law after the family estate), (jyoti-laxmi sameta)Satyanarayana , rallapalli…
    5. the extinct breed of Andhra (cine-)fathers – Gummadi mainly..

  17. Anonymous

    Hey blogs who the hell u have to comment that hero, he was one of the famous actors if you speak of the movies of 70′s and 80′s i dont think some one commnet on that every actor has his style and uniquenes of dialog delivery…

  18. Pharaoh

    Most stupid actor of 70′s is Super Star Krishna. So-called Super Star is even worse than Shobhan Babu, with his “wheeling hands and lame walk” steps for songs. His dialogue delivery was most hilarious & college students use them to make jokes still today. Shobhan babu had various records like highest number hits produced by any telugu hero, highest paid hero of 70′s & 80′s (higher than NTR), excelled in both Mythical & social characters, and many.
    After few decades, people similarly laugh at Chiru & NBK for their silly butt-shaking and head-shaking dances (like Fits patient). Because the “trend is temporal & cannot be judged by eternal laws”.

  19. Pharaoh

    Most stupid actor of 70’s is Super Star Krishna. So-called Super Star is even worse than Shobhan Babu, with his “wheeling hands and lame walk” steps for songs. His dialogue delivery was most hilarious & college students use them to make jokes still today. Shobhan babu had various records like highest number hits produced by any telugu hero, highest paid hero of 70’s & 80’s (higher than NTR), excelled in both Mythical & social characters, and many.
    After few decades, people similarly laugh at Chiru & NBK for their silly butt-shaking and head-shaking dances (like Fits patient). Because the “trend is temporal & cannot be judged by perpetual perspectives”.

  20. manmadha

    can any body send the original song of “O.. mungisa mooti daana yeluka chevula yriidana……”

  21. Srinu

    I agree with “Pharaoh”. Even the most popular actors [ Not the best actors] of the current times will be laughed at by the people of coming generations. It is very silly and so childish of you to make such comments about Shoban Babu and his wig. You know or not almost all heroes use wigs. Many actors have got their own mannerisms and you are not going to spend the rest of your life making comments like this. If you want to appreciate, you see the better movies of him like Malle poovu, Chelleli kaapuram, Bali peetam, Kaalam Maarindi, Illaalu_Priyuraalu. Please note I am not a fan of Shoban Babu but I am a fan of ANR.

  22. Pingback: A walk in the clouds.. » Gone baby gone

  23. kowsik

    During the ‘aakasamulo oka taara‘ song – when he has one finger up in the air pointing (presumably) at the sky .. going jhoom jhoom jhoom jhoom tana jhoom.

    He isn’t called ‘superstar’ for nothing ;) I think this was the first movie that I remember having watched in a theater !

    Awesome post, reminded me of the weekly movies on Doordarshan.

  24. Krishna

    Any actor should be appreciated if he is popular during his time. Sobhan Babu was considered a great actor then and was even a trend-setter with certain style of movies. Just like styles change, actors try to change their action and mannerisms. NTR, ANR, Sobhan Babu all acted in classy roles in B&W era. Later when the concept of mass movies started they had to change their styles to keep them commercially successfully. Few years from now, people will laugh at Rajinikanth’s movies. Does that take away the greatness of Rajinikanth to his era?

    Elvis style looks funny to us but not the people of his time. Same goes for Sobhan Babu. What made Sobhan Babu special was the importance he gave to spend time with his family in later part of his life. Also, he ran his own welfare for the people who lived around him and to people who where part of his life. He always discouraged his fans associations and asked them to take care of themselves and their families.

  25. Prasad

    Sobhan Babu passed away last month. Based on anyone who met him write about humble qualities inspite of amassing great wealth. I think he was one of the guys who actually managed to maintain good work/personal life balance.

    May his soul rest in peace.

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