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Service gives him satisfaction



Kurella Someswara Rao

These days it is not difficult to find an Indian globe-trotter. And those who have had the opportunity do not hesitate to wax eloquent over their trip. But there seem to be very few Indians who have toured the entire length and breadth of the country and pride themselves in saying so. To that rare group belongs the noted advocate, former journalist, writer, film producer and art promoter, Kurella Someswara Rao.

"I have toured all the States in the country. The marble sculptures at the Dilwara temple in Rajasthan, the scenic beauty of Kashmir, the natural beauty of Kerala and the temples of Tamil Nadu are some of the few things which every Indian should be proud of," he says. He was invited by the European Telugu Association in 1999 to tour 14 countries at their expense but could not make it, as he had to stay back for a family function.

Born on December 22, 1928, to Kurella Ganeswara Rao and Atchyuta Ramani at Chodavaram in Visakhapatnam district, Someswara Rao did his primary and high school education at the District Board High School. Later, he did his Intermediate and B.Sc. at the Maharaja College in Vizianagaram. He studied B.L. from the AU Law College during 1950-52.

After passing B.Sc. in 1948, he went to Madras and joined as sub-editor in the popular weekly, `The Andhra Herald' (English), which was edited and published by the late Vaidula Ramana Rao, a disciple of Andhra Kesari Tanguturi Prakasham Panthulu. During that period he came in contact with great poets like Sri Sri and Arudra. He returned to Chodavaram, following a brief illness, and his father got him married to Sita Mahalakshmi.

Someswara Rao joined the AU Law College after marriage. He enrolled as an advocate at the Madras High Court in 1953 and shifted to the Visakhapatnam bar after the formation of Andhra State in October the same year. He was honorary editor of `Visakha Patrika' (an Anglo-Telugu publication) from the Gupta Brothers. He had to stop journalistic pursuits in view of his professional pressures as an advocate.

During his brief stint as a journalist in 1949, Someswara Rao had close association with a number of eminent personalities from the film field. In 1960, he accidentally became a producer of the Telugu film, `Sri Simhachala Kshetra Mahatyam'. Later, with the permission of the AP Bar Council, he was associated with the production of the N.T. Rama Rao-starrer, `Visala Hrudayalu'. He rates `Sampoorna Ramayanam' and `Madhura Meenakshi' as his great films. "While `Sampoorna Ramayanam' was dubbed into Tamil, we were given special permission to shoot inside the temple of Goddess Meenakshi, which was a great honour for us," he says.

A keen sports enthusiast, he had actively participated in Grig Memorial Sports in Visakhapatnam district during his school and college days. During 1950-52, he represented Andhra University in volleyball and basketball. He was captain of the basketball team and a member of the Sports Committee of AU Colleges.

He was associated with the cooperative movement for 18 years as director, secretary and honorary secretary of the Visakhapatnam House Building Society Limited.

Someswara Rao lost his wife in 1981. Her pious life had a tremendous impact on him. He believes every individual has to be indebted to four things in life: parents, teacher, God and society. After attaining wealth and status in life, he/she should donate or utilise 10 to 25 per cent. He set up four trusts - Kurella Someswara Rao Charitable Trust, Sita Music and Dance Academy Trust, Sahitya Seva Samithi Trust and more recently, the Someswara Punyabhoomi Trust - for rendering service and recognising talented persons from different walks of life. The main motto of all the trusts is development of literature and fine arts.

He has been presenting `Vidya Vikas Awards' every year to meritorious children of high schools and the `Bala Medhavulu' (child prodigies) award to school going children in the 3-12 age group.

Someswara Rao has plans to establish a meditation-cum-devotional centre. "The blueprint has already been prepared for this. The idea is to install 32 different forms of Lord Ganesha. The idols would be brought from Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu. I hope that project would be completed by the end of next year," he says.

He also has plans to bring out a volume on 100 select short stories published between 1900 and 2000 AD. The book is expected to run into 1,000 pages and the stupendous task is estimated at Rs.2 lakhs. "Though I am not an artiste myself, I have been encouraging fine arts all along," he said.

Of all these activities, which one gives him the maximum satisfaction? "I believe in the maxim, `Service to society is service to God' and it is that service which gives me immense satisfaction," he says.

B. MADHU GOPAL

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