Hyderabad: The director who changed the face of Telugu cinema, Kasinathuni Viswanath, popularly known as Kalathapasvi Viswanath, has been honoured with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2016. The Government of India announced the award on Monday. It is the highest award in the field of cinema. Viswanath started his career as a sound recordist with Vahini Pictures. Akkineni Nageswara Rao spotted his talent and asked him to join his Annapurna Pictures as an assistant director. Viswanath worked as assistant director to Adurthi Subba Rao and made his debut as director with ‘Atma Gouravam’ in 1965, with Nageswara Rao as the lead actor. He never looked back after this, his first film, and created his own mark in Telugu cinema.
Though he directed many stars, he always believed in his style of storytelling and the strong content of his film for success. There are no vulgar double entendre dialogues in his films, which are pleasant, steeped in the local ethos, and with music, dance and traditional art forms. His film ‘Shankarabharanam’ changed Telugu cinema and took it into the international arena.
His film ‘Swathi Muthyam’ not only won a National Award, but was also India’s official entry to the 59th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category. His other films ‘Sirivennela’, ‘Saptapadi’, ‘Sutradharulu’, ‘Sruthilayalu’, ‘Swathikiranam’, ‘Subha Sankalpam’, ‘Swayam Krushi’ and ‘Swarna Kamalam’ won National and State awards.
Viswanath chooses a simple and uncomplicated story and gives film lovers a pleasant and enjoyable watch. Most of his stories are related to the common man and what is happening in their homes or with their neighbours. That’s the reason many watch his films again and again.
Born on February 19, 1930, at Gudivada in Andhra Pradesh, K Viswanath was awarded the Padmasri in 1992 and has won five National Awards, 20 Nandi Awards and 10 Filmfare Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement. “I am very happy and proud that I received this award at this age and time. I feel the affection shown by the immense public to me. I feel it’s a sincere act,” he said about his latest honour. Asked whether he wants to continue as an actor or is thinking about returning to direction, he said, “I am not thinking anything at present as I want to be just K Viswanath.”
Congratulations flowed in thick and fast from the Telugu film industry after the Phalke Award was announced – Chiranjeevi, Kamal Haasan, Jr NTR and many other actors and directors wished him for an honour that honours Telugu cinema as well....