Andhra knows Jayalalithaa not just as a heroine of yesteryears in Telugu filmdom but also as someone who has a mysterious presence in Sobhan Babu’s life. So what is it that brewed between Sobhanbabu and Jayalalitha ?
Here are the excerpts from the book: Amma – Jayalalithaa’s journey from movie star to political queen
“It was then that she formed a friendship with the Telugu star Shoban Babu, who was much younger than MGR. It developed into a serious relationship, according to her unfinished memoirs. Her friends at that time were aware that she was in love with him, wanted to marry him and settle down to a normal life like other women. Her schoolmate Chandini and her husband Pankaj Bhulani say that when they were invited for lunch at Poes Garden Jayalalithaa showed them a huge album with pictures of her marriage ceremony with Shoban Babu. Chandini says, `It was a pukka Brahmin marriage with punditji and ceremony. She said, “He is such a wonderful person. I am so happy.“ She blushed like a bride and I could see she was happy.’ But the album remains a mystery no one else claims to have seen it. Other sources say that the marriage never took place. According to her friend Srimathi, `She knew that Shoban Babu was already married and had a teenaged son. But he charmed her. I was introduced to him. He was a very charming man. I think what attracted her to him was that he was very intelligent and well read. She could discuss books with him. Shoban Babu was a man of few words as she was, but spoke sensibly like her. She was never the flirtatious kind and was particular about the company she kept. She did want to marry him in the traditional Iyengar fashion. Probably like Vijayanthimala, who married Dr Bali, a married man. She asked for my help to make an Iyengar thaali mangalya sutra. She asked me to attend her quiet wedding that would take place in her house. She said she had already purchased sarees from Nalli. On that day, early morning at six, she called me and said the wedding was cancelled and hung up.’ When Srimathi asked her later what had happened, Jayalalithaa indicated that there was some objection from Shoban Babu’s wife.
Anandan doubted if she had plans to marry him at all.But he agreed that Jayalalithaa was fond of Shoban Babu, who was a constant visitor to Poes Garden when Anandan was her PRO. There were rumours that it was MGR who thwarted her wedd i n g t o h e r l o v e r.Anything could have been possible with MGR, said Anandan.
Whatever the reason for the abrupt end to her affair with Shoban Babu, the fact that she had written about her relationship with him turned into a whip with which her political opponents lashed her. They projected her as a cheap woman, not worthy of being associated with a person like MGR.
A sickened and shattered Jayalalithaa retired from films at the peak of her glory and became a total recluse. RMV must have exulted at J a y a l a l i t h a a ‘s s e l f imposed retirement. But he could not have known that she was not destined to fade away into oblivion.”