Saturday, September 21, 2013

Golden man

Maybe 'Golden Boy' would be more appropriate, considering his background. Chennai has several statues of movie heroes, most of them in public spaces. This one however seems to have been installed by converting a corner of the property he occupied in Mehta Nagar, off Nelson Manickam Road.

You are right, that is Shobhan Babu's statue. In a career across four decades, from 1965 to 1996, he acted in about 120 films. In a majority of them, he played the lone lead hero - and popular lore has it that in almost every one of those films, he romanced more than one heroine. That may not be entirely true, but it certainly burnished his reputation as a glamourous star and kept the producers happy. Shobhan Babu is the only second actor - after Dilip Kumar - to have won three consecutive Filmfare awards for best actor, so there must have been something more to him than just the stardust.

The statue catches your eye, not only because it is at a busy intersection. Trying to recall the other 'golden' statues that I have seen only brings two others to mind - Jagjivan Ram's at Ezhilagam and Sivaji Ganesan's on the Marina. But neither of them is topped off with the black hair that keeps Shobhan Babu's glamour intact!

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