K.Vishwanath…the name itself says it all in not only in the History of Telugu Cinema but also in Indian Cinema. This gentleman arrived in Film Industry at a point where the people of Andhra Pradesh were slowly forgetting what a “Classic Film” can be called, and were skin deep in meaningless dance sequences, vulgar dialogues, and needless western influence. There was an instance where many songs were “copied” from Hindi/English films believing that the film in Telugu would click because of that! But the KaLa Tapasvi, with his determination, self-confidence and faith in the Culture and Fine Arts of India came forward to make movies with tremendous worth, dignity and make the movie goers re-think about his/her approach towards the importance of our Indian Culture.
By now, any reader of my post who is not that familiar about K.Vishwanath would feel he made only movies pertaining to fine arts. Surprisingly this can be proved wrong! Through his strong characters who speak their heart out, and never say NO to what they disapprove of, his films speak volumes not only about Culture and Arts, but also about Social problems such as Dowry, Caste System, Racial-Regional-Gender based prejudices, Untouchability, Superstitions which still prevail in our society.
I feel really proud and amazed to start the exclusive series on Telugu Films relating to Fine Arts by talking about this gentleman K.Vishwanath. I completely agree that there are wonderful other directors who brought Fine Arts into Telugu Cinema but beginning the Fine Arts/Social Message film series with a brief introduction of this person is something very special. His films have influenced a generation of thought and it is needless to say that there were/still are many families who encouraged their children to learn either Music or Dance after watching K.Vishwanath’s films!
Where should I begin about this legendary film-maker? Starting his career as a technician and later as assistant director to a popular film maker of that age Adurthi Subba Rao, K.Vishwanath rose to prominence with serious films such as Atma Gouravam, Kaalam Maarindhi and then the popular film Saarada in early 70s. This film starred Sharada and Sobhan Babu (Chocolate boy Hero of the 70s!) in the lead and it brought the veteran singer Ramakrishna a huge name for the title song he sang! It is said that this film was hugely popular among the young and women audience of that time for the sentiment it offered!!
The so-called Vishwanath stamp was slowly evolving at this era and very soon, after few years, a path-breaking Fine Arts movie “Siri Siri Muvva” starring Jayaprada and Chandra Mohan in the lead. This film was utterly challenging as the female protagonist is dumb in this- yet she is an amazing dancer! What can one say about the all-time popular song “Jhummandhi Naadam” from this film? It still remains to the most influential songs in Telugu Cinema and Film Music!
Neither nobody in Telugu Film Industry, nor the country knew the best was yet to come from KaLa Tapasvi very soon, which would break all paths made in Telugu Films until that point of time. Let it be about the regular norms where the hero should be young,handsome and popular, or the heroine should be just glamorous without any scope to perform, or the film should be as unrealistic as possible in every respect!
Yes. I am talking about the legendary film ShankarabharaNam which was released in 1979 with K.Vishwanath as director, the brilliant Jandhyala as writer, Veturi in song-lyrics, K.V.Mahadevan in Music. K.Vishwanath did a real dare in making this film for many reasons out of which some being the hero is a middle aged widower, and the heroine being a prostitute’s daughter and yet has excellent musical interest. Additionally, the hero and the heroine have only one bonding – that is Music! This film broke so many paths which analysts, critics and film goers still ponder about!
I would not go into much details about his others films from this point of time as I would discuss about every film of KaLa Tapasvi which influenced a wider range of audience and still continues to do so!
How can we forget…
The Evergreen Balu– Passionate Classical Dancer from Sagara Sangamam with no luck but makes every attempt to put the art alive? Or his loyal friend played by Sarath babu who never leaves his presence?
The confident woman Sujatha (Sumalatha) from Subhalekha who confronts her family , society, when her family was asked to “pay” money in the form of dowry to get married?
The innocent Sivayya (Again Kamal Hasan) from Swathi Muthyam who doesn’t know anything but to be loving and humane to everyone he meets?
The modern lady with high quotient of independence Meenakshi (Bhanupriya) from Swarna Kamalam who never gives up on her hopes of freedom possessing strong ideals and individuality?
The determined Sambaiah (Chiranjeevi) in Swayam Krushi who strongly believes in hard work and becomes successful in life?
These are only some of the jewel like characters from Vishwanath’s films, and I felt it would be a great way to start my articles about KaLa Tapasvi’s films by remembering some of the most influential characters which came from his thought!
Marapuraani Chitralu will make an honest and sincere attempt in bringing the best of K.Vishwanath as well as Fine Arts/ Social Message films which not only made the audience think even after years of when they were made, but also evolve a part of the brilliant things which were shown in such films!!
This series will go hand-in-hand with Jandhyala’s comedy series which was started earlier by me and watch this space for much more exploration in the excellence of Telugu Cinema!