Padma Shri Kasinadhuni Viswanath, popularly known as K. Vishwanath, is a Telugu movie maker whose contributions have been significant to Indian films from the Telugu film industry. He was born in the South Indian city of Vijayawada in 1930.
He began his career as a technician in a studio at Chennai and later assisted Mr. Adurti Subba Rao in direction. He also worked as an assistant to director Ramnoth. He debuted as a director with Aatma Gowravam, which starred Akkineni Nageswara Rao. However, his full prowess in film-making flowered with a subsequent film called Siri Siri Muvva.
His films used to tackle the relevance and influence of Indian music/culture/art in the modern era. Films in this mould include Sankarabharanam ('Shankara's Ornament'). He made a series of such classical oriented movies all showcasing the bliss in Indian art forms. The list includes Saagara Sangamam ('A Tryst With Infinity'), Sruthi Layalu, Sirivennela ('Golden Moonlight'), Swarna Kamalam ('Golden Lotus'), and Swathi Kiranam ('A Ray of Talent').
He also made significant contributions on the social front with films like Saptapadi ('The seven Steps', signifying the sanctity of the Hindu marriage system), Swathi Muthyam ('Pure Pearl'), Swayam Krushi ("Attitude Towards Work" — conveying the message that dilligence and dedication is indispensable in achieving success), Subhodayam ('Good Morning'), Subhalekha ('Wedding Invitation' — a critique of the dowry system), Aapadhbhaandhavudu ('Savior'), and Subha Sankalpam ('Good Will').
Swathi Muthyam was India's official entry to the Oscars in 1986. Viswanath was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contributions to Indian film.
His films mirror the erosion of cherished values of Indian culture yet he remains critical of those morals that make one stand against his fellow human. For example, in his movie Saptapadi, Vishwanath brilliantly addresses certain loopholes in an inadmissible cultural system like intercaste marriage. A temple chief-priest gets his daughter’s daughter married to his son’s son – unaware that she is musically fused to a flutist who is a Dalit (one of a lower caste, but of a higher humanness.) Later, as the priest sees the marriage falling apart, he comes to know the heroine’s erstwhile bonding. It takes the priest intense introspection to realise how nasty it is to look down upon a fellow human because of getting imprisoned in caste. He could now anchor his judgment of someone in the “content of character” rather than caste. Across numerous other films, Vishwanath has reechoed similar social concerns that still resonate in the audiences’ minds.
The music for his films were composed by K. V. Mahadevan and Ilaiyaraaja. Vishwanath has also worked with artists like Hariprasad Chaurasia, Kelucharan Mohapatra and Sharon Loven for some of his films. Vishwanath also ventured into mainstream acting recently.