June 11, 2012 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
There cannot be a greater school than home and a better teacher than a parent. Karuna Seshu who is known to the people in Chennai and the film industry in Hyderabad as actor Sobhan Babu's son is gratified on belonging to a family that had always emphasised on simple living and a content, private life.
His father's 75th birth anniversary is being celebrated in Hyderabad towards the end of this month and on the occasion Karuna Seshu who has otherwise led a very secluded life reminisces his childhood and growing years with the actor who taught them discipline, punctuality and keeping close to the family right from a very young age.
Will he attend the event in Hyderabad? He avers, "I'm now 53, when he passed away I was 49..it was too late to getting to know the media or the film fraternity. We are in a business line, we have a construction company and our lives are weaved around it. My father always wanted us to lead a private life and we would like to respect his wishes.
Usually on his birthdays, we call the staff home, lunch together, we give them a bonus and clothes and spend some quality time with them. To keep his memory alive I have kept his room as it is and I'm planning to construct a commercial complex that will have his name. Currently I'm waiting for the plan sanction. There will be another building that will come up in the farm house that will be named after him."
Karuna Seshu says Sobhan Babu never gave them a chance to miss out on anything to do with films, his first importance was to the family. "I have never stepped into a studio and do not know how it looks like. I have met only a few senior actors only few friends who are close to him and from the beginning he didn't involve in production, or anything to do with cinema.
We had a very middle class life and infact by the time the grand children grew up he retired in film industry (1998) and the grand kids were hardly ten or twelve years and he would spend time in the beach house and he never spoke cinema with them. He put me into construction when I was 22 and I remember he carrying me on his shoulders.
We would sleep next to him, my children slept with him even on his last day..they study in a college. He would say it was a bliss spending time with the grandchildren. We had to be home by 8 and he gave us so much love that we could never go wrong. Even if we wanted to do something wrong we would desist thinking that would hurt him. It was controlling with love and not the stick."
Seshu observes that his father never splurged money but led a reasonably good life. He would take care of his employees and relations and lot of youngsters would come to him and he would teach them financial discipline and urge people to not waste money and save it for the future.
He adds, "He never threw his weight around, for favours he would never approach anyone. Was a teetotaller, liked curd rice and over indulged in mangoes. He applied this discipline to his health as well and said everything he wished in life has been fulfilled. He told my children that he would like to live to see their children too but God had his own ways of doing things."
The son wants to pass on the legacy of values to his children and why not, it was wealth, reputation that came from straight means and a disciplined life that has been very consistent worthy of emulation.