K. Viswanath | Srivideo
Born Name: Kasinathuni Viswanath
Date of Birth: 19 February 1930
Place of Birth: Repalle, Madras Presidency, British India (now in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, India)
Occupation: Film director, screenwriter, actor
Spouse: Jaya Lakshmi
Children: Padmavathi Viswanath, Ravindranath Viswanath, Nagendranath Viswanath
Awards: Padma Shri (1992)
Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2016)
Kasinadhuni Viswanath (born 19 February 1930) is an Indian audiographer turned director, screenwriter and character actor known for his works in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi cinema. He is a recipient of five National Film Awards, six state Nandi Awards, ten Filmfare Awards South, and a Bollywood Filmfare Award. In a film career spanning sixty years, Viswanath has directed fifty three feature films in a variety of genres, including films based on performing arts, visual arts, and aesthetics.
Viswanath has received recognition for his works, and is known for blending parallel cinema with mainstream commercial cinema. Viswanath was honored with the "Prize of the Public" at the "Besancon Film Festival of France" in the year 1981. His directorial works which are produced by Poornodaya Movie Creations were screened to special mention at the Moscow International Film Festival; such films were dubbed into Russian language and have been theatrically released in Moscow. In 1992, he received the Andhra Pradesh state Raghupathi Venkaiah Award, and the civilian honor Padma Shri for his contribution to the field of arts. He was awarded the 2017 Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award in Indian cinema, at the 64th National Film Awards.
Early life and education
Kasinadhuni Viswanath was born on 19 Feb 1930 in a Telugu speaking family to Kasinadhuni Subramanyam and Kasinadhuni Saraswati (Saraswatamma). His ancestral roots come from Pedapulivarru, Andhra Pradesh, a small village on the banks of River Krishna. Kasinadhuni is his family name, Viswanath is his given name. Viswanath studied Intermediate from Guntur Hindu College, and holds a B.Sc degree from Andhra Christian College of Acharya Nagarjuna University. He began his career as a sound recordist at Vauhini Studios in Madras, where his father was an associate. He transitioned into film direction at Annapurna Pictures under Adurthi Subba Rao and K. Ramnoth. He wished to work as an assistant to director K. Balachander and Bapu.
During his early career, Viswanath was associated with Adurthi Subba Rao on National Award winning films such as Mooga Manasulu (1964) and Doctor Chakravarthy (1964). Viswanath scripted Sudigundalu (1968), and directed works such as Aatma Gowravam (1965), O Seeta Katha (1974) and Jeevana Jyothi (1975) which garnered the state Nandi Awards, and were screened at the Asian and African film Festival at Tashkent.
Viswanath's classic blockbusters Sankarabharanam (1979) and Sagara Sangamam (1983) were included among CNN-IBN's list of one hundred greatest Indian films of all time. His directorial works Sankarabharanam and Saptapadi have garnered the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and Best Feature Film on National Integration, respectively. Sankarabharanam, was premiered at the 8th International Film Festival of India, the Tashkent Film Festival, and the Moscow International Film Festival held in May 1980. Viswanath also won the Prize of the Public at the Besancon Film Festival of France in the year 1981.
Viswanath's Swati Mutyam was India's official entry to the 59th Academy Awards. Swati Mutyam, Sagara Sangamam and Sirivennela were premiered at the Asia Pacific Film Festival. Swayam Krushi was premiered to special mention at the Moscow International Film Festival. Sankarabharanam, Sagara Sangamam, Sruthilayalu, Swarnakamalam and Swati Kiranam were screened in the Indian Panorama section at International Film Festival of India, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and AISFM Film Festival.
In 1965, Viswanath debuted as a director with Telugu film Aatma Gowravam, which won the Nandi Award for Best Feature Film of the year. Viswanath followed it up with drama films Chelleli Kapuram, Sarada, O Seeta Katha and Jeevana Jyoti, which are women-centric films. It was in Siri Siri Muvva that the artistic touch in his craft first became visible.
Sankarabharanam highlights the neglect of traditional Indian music under the increasing influence of western music. The film brings out the grandeur of Carnatic music, the traditional South Indian music towards the end. Bhaskaran, a media and film researcher from Chennai has documented, in his study of South Indian music culture, how Sankarabharanam contributed to the revival of Carnatic music in a big way. The film broke many commercial records by running for over one year in cinemas. In a recent study published in Journal of Dance, Movements & Spiritualities published by "Intellect Group" of the United Kingdom, C. S. H. N. Murthy, a media and film studies scholar from India, has demonstrated how Viswanath's filmography embraces a wide spectrum of characters that include mentally and physically challenged subjects as well, like the film Sarada, which exploits a psychologically deranged woman, Swati Mutyam, which exploits an autistic man's humanism, Sirivennela which revels in situations between deaf and dumb characters, and Kalam Marindi, which dwells on characters stuck in a caste-based society.
Viswanath's filmography is known for addressing the issues of caste, colour, disability, alcoholism and socio-economic differences through liberal arts in works such as Saptapadi, Sirivennela, Swayamkrushi, Shrutilayalu and Swarnakamalam. The researcher, C. S. H. N. Murthy observed that Viswanath's films offer a pathway towards inclusiveness, affecting positive spiritual change at both personal and social levels. Situating the content in the broad arena of de-westernizing media studies, through immersive and culturally embedded perspectives, Murthy endeavoured to offer modern and postmodern dimensions in Viswanath's films.
Films with social issues
Viswanath has made many films dealing with a wide range of human and social issues: Saptapadi, Sirivennela, Sutradharulu, Subhalekha, Sruthilayalu, Subha Sankalpam, Aapadbandhavudu, Swayam Krushi, and Swarnakamalam have lead characters representing different strata of society, meticulously etched to suit the larger picture.
In Saptapadi, he decries the evils of untouchability and the caste system. In Subhodayam and Swayam Krushi he emphasizes the dignity and respectability of manual labor. In Subhalekha, he deals, in a humorous way, with the dowry system - one of the major evils in today's society. While Sutradharulu urges present-day society to recognize the need to adopt the ideals of non-violence, Swati Kiranam depicts the harm that can be caused by the basic instincts of envy and anger in a man, however accomplished he may be.
In spite of the nature of these subjects, they are presented in a subtle manner with an imaginative storyline, with just the right amount of emphasis on the intended message. Yet Viswanath's films were never offbeat cinema, but wholesome entertainers those elevated the lead actors' image. He is a director with social-conscious mind and who believes cinema can bring out desirable changes in society if presented in a format liked by a cross-section of audience.
Association with Poornodaya Creations
Edida Nageswara Rao founded "Poornodaya Movie Creations", which encouraged Viswanath to make aesthetic films. Poornodaya has produced several of Viswanath's films like Sankarabharanam, Swatimutyam, Saagarasangamam, Sutradharulu, and Aapadbandhavudu. Most of these films were dubbed into Russian and were screened at the Moscow Film Festival.
Viswanath has also directed Hindi language films such as Sargam (1979), Kaamchor (1982), Shubh Kaamna (1983), Jaag Utha Insan (1984), Sur Sangam (1985), Sanjog (1985), Eeshwar (1989), Sangeet (1992) and Dhanwaan (1993). Some of these films (especially his collaboration with actress Jayaprada) have been super hits at the box office.
In 1995, Viswanath debuted as an actor with Telugu film Subha Sankalpam. As a character actor, he has appeared in works such as Vajram (1995), Kalisundam Raa (2000), Narasimha Naidu (2001), Nuvvu Leka Nenu Lenu (2002), Santosham (2002), Seema Simham (2002), Tagore (2003), Lakshmi Narasimha (2004), Swarabhishekam (2004), Aadavari Matalaku Arthale Verule (2007), Athadu (2005), and Pandurangadu (2008), and Devasthanam (2012). He essayed characters in Tamil works such as Kuruthipunal (1995), Mugavaree (1999), Kakkai Siraginilae (2000), Bagavathi (2002), Pudhiya Geethai (2003), Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008), Rajapattai (2011), Lingaa (2014) and Uttama Villain (2015).
Viswanath had also acted on a few television serials; Siva Narayna Teertha on SVBC TV, Chellamey on Sun TV, and Suryavamsam on Vendhar TV. He also endorses brands such as GRT Jewellers and appears in various television commercials.
Viswanath is married to Kasinadhuni Jayalakshmi. Actor Chandra Mohan and singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam are Viswanath's cousins.
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