Veteran Filmmaker K. Viswanath Passes Away At 92; Known For His Iconic Films

Dadasaheb Phalke awardee and five-time National Award winner, noted filmmaker K. Viswanath, who was popular for iconic films like Sankarabharanam, Sagara Sangamam, Swathi Muthyam, and Swarna Kamalam, among others, breathed his last at his residence in Hyderabad on Thursday night. He had been unwell for some time and was also suffering from age-related problems.

K. Viswanath, popularly known as “Kalatapasvi,” was born in February 1930 in Andhra Pradesh. Viswanath started his career as an audiographer for Vauhini Studios in Madras. After a short stint as a sound engineer, he began his filmmaking career under filmmaker Adurthi Subba Rao, and eventually worked as an assistant director on the 1951 Telugu film “Pathala Bhairavi.” Viswanath made his directorial debut with the 1965 film “Aatma Gowravam,” which won the state-based Nandi Award.

It was with the widely popular and famous 1980 Telugu film “Sankarabharanam,” making Vishwanath a national phenomenon. So, thanks to the incredible success of the film everywhere. The film told about the gulf between Carnatic music and Western music, based on the perspectives of people from two different generations. The film “Sankarabharanam” had won four national awards. It was later remade in Hindi as “Sur Sangam” under the direction of Viswanath. After the success of “Sankarabharanam,” Vishwanath continued to make many more films that have art, especially music, as their backdrop.

His 1985 Telugu film “Swati Muthyam,” which featured Kamal Haasan as the central character as an autistic man who comes to the rescue of a young widow, was India’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Viswanath made his Bollywood debut in the 1979 film “Sargam,” which was a remake of his own film “Siri Siri Muvva.” Some of his other popular Hindi films include Kaamchor, Shubh Kaamna, Jaag Utha Insan, Sanjog, Eeshwar, and Dhanwaan.

Notably, his last directorial project was the 2010 Telugu film “Subhapradam,” starring Allari Naresh and Manjari Phadnis. He had also appeared in over two dozen films in the Telugu and Tamil industries. His honours include the Padma Shri in 1992, five National Awards, 20 Nandi Awards (given by the Andhra Pradesh government), and 10 Filmfare Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2016.

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