New Delhi: Renowned director Kasinadhuni Viswanath, known for award-winning movies like 'Sankarabharanam', 'Sagara Sangamam' and 'Swati Mutyam', was today named for the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award for outstanding contribution to the film industry.
He became the 48th recipient of the award, the highest recognition in Indian cinema, which consists of a golden lotus, a cash prize of Rs 10 lakhs and a shawl.
The award for the year 2016 will be conferred by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function on May 3 at Vigyan Bhawan here.
The recommendation of the Dadasaheb Phalke award committee to recognise 87-year-old Viswanath was approved by I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today.
Reacting to the announcement, the veteran filmmaker said it proved that hard work eventually gets recognised. "It is difficult to express (my feelings) in words. It is a routine to say I am very happy. What I felt was, it has proved that whatever we do with commitment and discipline -- whether it is making a film or anything else -- will have its worth," he told reporters in Hyderabad.
Viswanath his parents and producers of his films for helping him in his creative endeavours.
"I am really grateful to my producers because they never objected to any aspect of my work. They never wanted alternatives to what I was doing. They never said you are doing something that a layman would not understand," he said.
Replying to a query, he said he did not feel that the honour came to him late in the life and he is happy to receive it since he is hale and hearty.
The director, whose 'Swati Mutyam' with Kamal Haasan was India's official entry to the 59th Academy awards in the best foreign films category, said it is the greatness of actors like Kamal Haasan and Chiranjeevi for not behaving like superstars with him.
'Swati Mutyam' was remade as 'Eeshwar' in Hindi, starring Anil Kapoor.
Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ESL Narasimhan said the award is the true recognition of Viswanath's contribution to cinema.
The recipient of five National Film Awards, Viswanath is known for his movies -- 'Sankarabharanam', 'Sagara Sangamam' (starring Kamal Haasan and Jayaprada), 'Swati Mutyam', 'Saptapadi', 'Kaamchor', 'Sanjog' and 'Jaag Utha Insaan' among others.
Viswanath, who has made 50 movies since 1965, is a celebrated filmmaker in Telegu film industry but he has also been active in Tamil and Hindi cinema.
He is known for making films on content-driven stories that have revolved around social themes like disability, untouchability and the evils of dowry.
His other awards include Padmashri in 1992, five National Awards, 20 Nandi Awards (given by the Andhra Pradesh government) and ten Filmfare Awards including Lifetime Achievement.
He began his career as a technician in a studio at Chennai before debuting as a director with 'Aatma Gowravam', which starred Akkineni Nageswara Rao and won the Nandi Award for the best feature film.
The filmmaker followed it with 'Chelleli Kapuram', 'O Seeta Katha', 'Jeevana Jyoti' and 'Sarada'.
Viswanath also ventured into mainstream acting, working in movies like 'Swarabhishekam' (which he directed as well), 'Pandurangadu', 'Narasimha Naidu', 'Lakshmi Narasimha' and 'Seemasimham', 'Kuruthipunal', 'Kakkai Siraginilae' and 'Bagavathi' among others....