Kalatapasvi K Vishwanath : The Doyen of Telugu Cinema
- In LifeStyle & Sports
- 11:04 AM, Feb 03, 2023
- Dr. Srikanth Appikonda
Born on 19 February 1930 in Repalle, Andhra Pradesh, Kasinadhuni Viswanath, apt to his given name was destined to be the lord of the Telugu cinema world. An admirer of theatre and cinema since his college days, K Viswanath started his film journey in 1952 as a technician handling cameras in Vahini studios. He made a name for himself first as a sound engineer and then as an assistant director before going on to direct some of the most beloved Telugu cinemas. Padma Shri award, Dadasaheb Phalke award and several National and Nandi awards are a testimony to a filmmaker par excellence.
He shaped the careers of many actors, mentoring and moulding them into career-defining roles. His protagonists spanned the entire spectrum of human tendencies. He was a torchbearer of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. His characters faced disability (a mute girl’s passion for dance in Siri Siri Muvva, an autistic but pure of mind and heart in Swathi Muthyam, emotional struggles of deaf and dumb characters in Sirivennela) and they faced social injustices (Kalam Marindi, Subhalekha).
Some were spiritually flawed (Swati Kiranam) and some had strong cconvictions(Sankarabharanam). Some were underprivileged but made it on their own and upheld the values of human dignity and labour (Swayam Krushi). Some were lost but discovered their true calling (Swarnakamalam). His characters brought to life, India's art, culture and spirit on the screen and also shaped our moral fabric by showing a mirror to society. His stories and characters were of humble backdrops and some were deeply rooted in classical art forms, yet his cinema was fully mainstream. It is his fine understanding of human emotions and sincerity of storytelling that Telugu cinema did not suffer a commercial and parallel cinema chasm.
A recurring theme from K Viswanath’s movies come to my mind. It is the depiction of the homes his characters live in. Chiranjeevi’s character in Swayam Krushi and Bhanupriya’s character in Swarna Kamalam live in homes that are not fully constructed and brick walls lay bare. Those bare walls await completion, just like the characters who are on a journey to fully realize their potential.
He leaves behind an ocean of human stories and emotions for us to explore and learn from, and to experience his divine touch with which he made cinemas on social causes. Blessed we are to have lived in his times.
Kasinadhuni Viswanath (19 February 1930 – 2 February 2023)
Saraswati putra, Kalatapasvi
Na Bhuto na Bhavishyati