A director with artistic touch
Seasoned director K Viswanath joins the elite club of Dadasaheb Phalke Award winners in Tollywood including legendary Telugu filmmakers like B Nagi Reddy, L V Prasad and thespian actor ANR. Like his predecessors, the master craftsman also carved a niche for himself with his brand of movies and proved that content-driven films revolving around good-hearted human beings with simple goals and values
Seasoned director K Viswanath joins the elite club of Dadasaheb Phalke Award winners in Tollywood including legendary Telugu filmmakers like B Nagi Reddy, L V Prasad and thespian actor ANR. Like his predecessors, the master craftsman also carved a niche for himself with his brand of movies and proved that content-driven films revolving around good-hearted human beings with simple goals and values will spin box-office magic.
His fan following includes educated class, family audience and youth. The five-time national award winner dabbled in varied genres, dished out female-centric films like `Sarada,’ batted for caste equality in `Sapthapadi’ and raised the bar on Telugu cinema with `Sankarabharanam’ and `Sagara Sangamam,’ both promoting classical music and dance respectively which deservingly fetched him national and international recognition.
Nevertheless, the sound engineer-turned-director had to go through his share of struggles since he tried to traverse a uncharted path by casting a little-known actor Somayajulu as the protagonist in `Sankarabharanam’ and couldn’t find buyers, until Tamil actress Manorama bought the rights for Tamil Nadu and the rest is history.
His films had his distinct artistic touch and ‘Siri Siri Muvva,’ ‘Seethamalakshmi,’ ‘Jeevana Jyothi’ and ‘Sirivennalla’ were some of his best works which fetched him critical acclaim as well as box-office success. The director was hailed as a `tasteful filmmaker’ amidst a cluster of filmmakers who dished out mindless potboilers and dented T-town image.
He tasted pan-Indian success with heart-touching Hindi film ‘Sargam’ and followed it up with ‘Kaamchor’ and ‘Eashwar,’ but he was firmly rooted to ethos and culture of Telugus. He made superstars like Kamal Haasan and Chiranjeevi shed their image and cast the former as a mentally-challenged person in `Swathi Muthyam’ and the latter as a cobbler in ‘Swayam Krushi’ and tapped their acting skills, which otherwise, would have remained dormant.
The ace director also had great ear for music and extracted soulful numbers from eminent composers like K V Mahadevan and maestro Illayaraja. He gave his heroines some author-backed roles including Jayaprada in ‘Siri Siri Muvva,’ Sumalatha in `Subhalekha’ and Bhanupriya in `Swarna Kamalam,’ who had their share of dreams but preferred to attain them in conventional way rather than rebelling against system.
The ace director bagged numerous Nandi and other awards and the prestigious Raghupathi Venkaiah Award added a leaf to his steaming cap. Meanwhile, the soft-spoken director turned actor with ‘Subha Sankalpam’ in 1995 and showcased his histrionic skills in films like ‘Kalisundam Raa’ and ‘Narasimhanaidu’ to name a few, and became a sought-after actor for matured roles. He is one of few directors to have succeeded as an actor, too, in T-town after Dasari Narayana Rao.
The director in him took a back seat after a few duds like ‘Chinnabbai’ and ‘Suprabhatham’ and forced him to stay away from wielding the megaphone for last six to seven years. Probably, realising the changing tastes of Telugu viewers, he is spending more time with his family and friends and is donning the grease paint for a challenging role once-in-a-while.