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Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Tributes to actor Sarath Babu

In olden days, Hero was the one would be good looking – later this got redefined.  There is another trait – most heroes have their own style be it Kamal, Rajnikant, Ajit, Vijay or more .. ..  I have enjoyed watching this tall good looking, bespectacled versatile person doing roles with panache – donning neat apparels, many a times clad in dhoti – and in good mannered supporting roles.  He did act as a villain too !! – and could even slap the hero on face without incurring the wrath of fans – the man Sarath Babu is no more !

I remember seeing this movie in a theatre -  the story of siblings – Venkatachalam and Indumathi, who hates men and adamantly against marriage.  Sanjeevi a friend who visits house often teases her and quarrels with her .. .. and you know the ending !  - that movie the hero wore a half-shoe (cut shoe) stating that it is neither a shoe nor a chappal.  In the end scene, heroine would come out of her ego, propose, hero would proceed his journey in jeep – seconds later, would say that was an official vehicle !! – and take her on his bicycle.  The two songs from the movies – ‘Ilakkanam marutho’ and ‘Kamban Emanthan’ written by Kannadasan were quite a hit those days.

Read that his father was a  hotelier, wanted his son in his business while he nursed hopes of becoming Police.  Then his short sight crashed his dreams and the good looking person landed in Cinemas.    .. .. the story of ‘Sathyam Babu Dixithulu’ (1951—2023) famously  Sarath Babu,   who worked in  Tamil and Telugu cinema. He appeared in more than 200 films, including in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and a few Malayalam and Hindi films.  He has received eight state Nandi Awards.

In April 2023, it was reported that Sarath Babu was suffering with Sepsis.  Sadly there was news in social medias a week or so ago, that he had passed away.  That was false news but  at the age of 71 on 22 May 2023 he died.

He did neat roles and never displayed any form of vulgarity.  The film described earlier was ‘ Nizhal Nijamagiradhu ’ directed by K Balachander and released in 1978 starring  Kamal Haasan, Sarath Babu, Sumithra and Hanumanthu, and introduced Shobha.  

This post is not intended tobe an anthology .. .. the same year, saw ‘Mullum Malarum’ directed by Mahendran, starring Rajnikanth in a rustic role with Sharath Babu, Jayalakshmi and Shoba.  It reportedly was based on Uma Chandran's novel of the same name,  that came as a serial in the Tamil magazine Kalki in 1966. Story of Kali, a winch operator of a cable trolley who dotes on his sister Valli (Shoba) since they were orphaned, and clashes with his boss Kumaran (Sarath Babu).

Years later came the classic Sagara Sangamam directed by K Vishwanath, a musical hit with Kamal as a classical dancer paired with Jayapradha.  Balakrishna, fondly called Balu, adept at   classical dances of Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, is struggling due to his troubles and Sarath played the role of a genuine friend.

Most cinema goers will remember that elevator scene where the life of a man would change at a whiff.  Rajnikant going up in the ladder even as Sarath Babu coming down in elevator was clapped and adored.  That was Annamalai, the milk man story   -  Malai, played Rajni – Ashok, the rich owner of 5 star hotel played by Sarath.   

More than a hero, he excelled in many films as a good friend of heroes and perhaps gelled with Rajni in many films like – Annamalai, Muthu, Mullum Malarum, Velaikaran, Netrikann !   - in Muthu too, he was the friend and boss (zamindar) where Rajni would work !

Cinema is a mass medium of entertainment and we felt happy in seeing roles what Sarath did on screen – a good looking well dressed person exhibiting good qualities.  Sad he is no more – homage to him.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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