Kasinadhuni Viswanath, an Indian filmmaker known for highlighting social issues, died Feb. 2 in Hyderabad of age-related illnesses. He was 92.
After serving as an assistant director for several years, Viswanath debuted as a director in 1965 with “Pathala Bhairavi.” A glittering career in the Telugu-language film industry followed with highlights including “Kalam Marindi” (1972), “Sarada” (1973), “O Seeta Katha” (1974), “Jeevana Jyoti” (1975), “Siri Siri Muvva” (1976), “Sankarabharanam” (1980), “Saptapadi” (1981), “Sagara Sangamam” (1983), “Swathi Muthyam” (1986), “Sirivennela” (1986), “Swayam Krushi” (1987) and “Aapadbandhavudu” (1992).
Viswanath also enjoyed a career in the Hindi-language film industry with several hit films including “Sargam” (1979), “Kaamchor” (1982), “Shubh Kaamna” (1983), “Jaag Utha Insan” (1984), “Sur Sangam” (1985), “Sanjog” (1985), “Eeshwar” (1989), “Sangeet” (1992) and “Dhanwan” (1993).
During the course of his filmmaking career the themes Viswanath tackled included the Indian caste system, disability, gender discrimination, misogyny, alcoholism and the challenges faced by Indian classical performing art forms.
His last film as director was “Subhapradam” (2010). He directed more than 50 films. He won at India’s National Film Awards five times. In 2017, he was accorded India’s highest film honor, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement in cinema.
Viswanath also had a flourishing career as an actor, debuting in 1995 with “Subha Sankalpam” and went on to act in more than 30 films.
Tributes have been pouring in for the departed filmmaker.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Saddened by the passing away of Shri K. Viswanath Garu. He was a stalwart of the cinema world, distinguishing himself as a creative and multifaceted director. His films covered various genres and enthralled audiences for decades. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”
“RRR” director S.S. Rajamouli said” “Your signature on Telugu Cinema & art in general will shine brightly forever.”
“RRR” star NTR Jr tweeted: “Vishwanath holds a high place among those who spread the fame of Telugu cinema across the continents. He gave many incredible films like Shankarabharan and Sagara Sangam. The loss without him is never-ending. My deepest condolences to his family and may his soul rest in peace.”
Fellow “RRR” star Ram Charan said: We have lost a legend! K Vishwanath Garu.. You will always remain immortal in all our hearts and in art. May his beautiful soul rest in peace.”
Oscar winner A.R. Rahman added: “Tradition, warmth, heart, music, dance, love… your movies filled my childhood with humaneness and wonder.”
Kamal Haasan, who acted in several of Viswanath’s films, also paid tribute.
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