Veteran Telugu Director Kasinadhuni Vishwanath was conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award 2016, for his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema.
The recommendation of the 48th Dadasaheb Phalke award committee to recognise Vishwanath was approved by I&B minister Sh. M Venkaiah Naidu, which is surely a great and appreciated decision.
“A presenter of classical and traditional art, music and dance, Shri K. Viswanath has been a guiding force in the Indian film industry. As a director, he has made fifty films since 1965 known for their strong content, endearing narrative, honest handling and cultural authenticity,” the I&B ministry said in the statement.
Vishwanath has made a series of films based on varied themes of art, music and dance. Culture, along with music and dance always played a prominent role in the progression of the story of his films. Viswanath’s filmography is known for addressing the societal evils such as caste system, dowry, untouchability and violence. The films like Saptapadi, Swayam Krushi, Subhalekha and Sutradharulu were highly recognized for making strong comment on such issues. He has also successfully portrayed the human issues of physical and mental disability with the films like Sarada and Sirivennela.
In spite of the sensitivity of these subjects, they are presented in a creative manner that puts the right amount of emphasis on the intended message. Yet Vishwanath’s films were never considered as offbeat cinema but proved to be complete package of entertainment for the viewers. Being a director, he believes cinema can bring out desirable change in society if presented aesthetically. He has been known for blending parallel cinema with mainstream cinema, in a distinguished and highly acceptable way.
Born on 19th February 1930 in Andhra Pradesh, Vishwanath is a sound designer-turned director and character actor, known for his work in Telegu, Tamil and Hindi cinema. He has been associated with almost 60 films in his career span of 60 years as Sound recorder, Screenplay & Story writer, Assistant Director, Actor or Director.
Awards have been rained upon him, for his brilliant sense of film making, which itself defines the success story and quality of his works. He made films which have been recognised not only by the Indian film industry but also made a strong inkling on the world. During the years, he has been honoured with 5 National Film Awards (for Sankarabharanam, Saptapadi, Swati Mutyam, Sutradharulu, and Swarabhishekam), 20 Nandi Awards (awarded by the Andhra Pradesh Government for films like Shruti Layalu, Subha Sankalpam and Kalisundam Raa etc.), 10 Filmfare Awards including Lifetime Achievement Award (for O Seeta Katha, Jeevana Jyoti, Saagara Sangamam, Subhalekha and others), and the prestigious Padma Shri Award.
His films like Swayam Krushi, Swati Kiranam and Swarnakamalam have been premiered and recognized at International Film Festivals as well, such as International Film Festival of India, Tashkent Film Festival, Moscow International Film Festival, Besancon Film Festival of France and Asia Pacific Film Festival. His film Swati Mutyam, represented India at the 59th Academy awards in the best foreign films category.
In 1965, Vishwanath debuted as a director with Telugu film Aatma Gowravam, which won the Nandi Award for Best Feature Film of the year. Since then, most of his films were able to get critic acclaims along with success at Box office as well. He has worked with leading actors from across the industry including Kamal Haasan, Jayaprada, Rishi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Rakesh Roshan, Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Mithun Chakravarti, Vanisri, N T Rama Rao, Shoban Babu and Chiranjeevi , and became the mentor and patron for many.
In 1995, Vishwanath debuted as an actor with Telugu film Subha Sankalpam. Later he got popularity as a character actor, and appeared in Telugu – Tamil films such as Kakkai Siraginilae (2000), Narasimha Naidu (2001), Bagavathi (2002), Pudhiya Geethai (2003), Tagore (2003), Swarabhishekam (2004),Pandurangadu (2008) and many more. He has also acted in few television serials, and endorsed for few brands as well.
Here is the list of few classic films among others from his splendid career, all of which are ahead of each other because of one reason or other.
Sankarabharanam- It shows the chasm between Classical and Western Music based on two people from different generations. The film gave the message that art does not differentiate between caste, class or religion.
Saptapadai- The film revolves around conservatism and talks about an individual’s journey to break away from all the norms to finding a path of understanding, encompassing and enlightenment. It also focuses on the rituals of marriage, and its importance in one’s life.
Swati Mutyam: The film is about an autistic man who falls in love with a widow. It comments about re-marriage of a widow and brings forward the difference between autism and mental illness.
Swayamkrushi: The message is that there are no short cuts to success. The story revolves around a man who becomes rich because of his dedication. The film also focuses on the pure relationship between parents and child.
K Vishwanath is a true legendary icon for Indian Film Industry, and his exceptional and exemplary work would undoubtedly continue to inspire many. He has set a prominent benchmark for the art of film making that would be arduous for others to touch.
The author is a senior journalist and film critique.