K.Viswanath a legendary Telugu filmmaker known for films such as Sankarabharanam, Sagara Sangamam, Swathi Muthyam, and Swarna Kamalam, among others, died on Thursday at his home in Hyderabad. The five-time national award winner was experiencing age-related issues. He was 92.
K.Viswanath began his career in Madras as an audiographer for Vauhini Studios. After a brief stint as a sound engineer, he began his filmmaking career as an assistant director on the 1951 Telugu film Pathala Bhairavi under filmmaker Adurthi Subba Rao.
K.Viswanath made his directorial debut in 1965 with the film Aatma Gowravam, which won the state Nandi award.
Viswanath became a national phenomenon with the widely popular and celebrated 1980 Telugu film Sankarabharanam, thanks to the film’s phenomenal success everywhere. The film discussed the disparity between Carnatic and Western music from the perspectives of two generations.
Sankarabharanam later won four National awards. It was later remake in Hindi as Sur Sangam, also directed by Viswanath.
Following the success of Sankarabharanam, Viswanath went on to make a number of films with art, particularly music, as the backdrop. Sagara Sangamam, Swati Kiranam, Swarna Kamalam, Sruthilayalu, and Swarabhishekam are a few of these films.
His 1985 Telugu film Swati Muthyam, starring Kamal Haasan as an autistic man who comes to the aid of a young widow, was India’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
Viswanath made his Bollywood debut in 1979 with the film Sargam, a remake of his own film Siri Siri Muvva. Kaamchor, Shubh Kaamna, Jaag Utha Insan, Sanjog, Eeshwar, and Dhanwaan are some of his other popular Hindi films.
He was well-known in Bollywood for his numerous collaborations with Rakesh Roshan. Rakesh Roshan told IANS in an interview that Viswanath taught him everything he knows about filmmaking.
“It was Viswanath ji whom I watched and learnt filmmaking from. We did four films together. He would shoot for the day and then leave the editing of the footage to me in the evening. It was while I edited Viswanath ji’s films that I realised I could direct films,” he said.
Subhapradam, a 2010 Telugu film starring Allari Naresh and Manjari Phadnis, was his most recent directorial project.
He has also appeared in over a dozen films in the Telugu and Tamil industries.
He received the Padma Shri in 1992 and the Dada Saheb Phalke award in 2017. In a career spanning four decades, he had won eight Filmfare awards.