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Renowned filmmaker Kasinadhuni Viswanath chosen for Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2016

K. Viswanath. Photo: Bishek, Wikipedia
K. Viswanath. Photo: Bishek, Wikipedia
Renowned film director and actor Kasinadhuni Viswanath has been chosen for the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2016 -- the top honour in Indian cinema -- for his outstanding contribution to the growth and development of the industry.
 
An official press release said here today that Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu had approved the recommendation of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award committee. 
 
The award, conferred by the Government of India, consists of a Swarn Kamal (Golden Lotus), a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh and a shawl. The award will be conferred by President Pranab Mukherjee at a function at Vigyan Bhavan here on May 3.
 
A presenter of classical and traditional art, music and dance, K Viswanath has been a guiding force in the Indian film industry. As a director, he has made fifty films since 1965 known for their strong content, endearing narrative, honest handling and cultural authenticity. His films on a wide range of social and human issues had great appeal to the masses, the release said.
 
Viswanath was born in February 1930 at Gudivadain Andhra Pradesh. An ardent art lover, he made a series of films based on varied themes of art, music and dance. His films empathized with courage and frailty, aspirations and convictions, perseverance and distractions, social demands and individual struggle and at the core believed in the goodness of the human spirit.
 
His contributions have received recognition in the form of the Padma Shri award in 1992 by the Government of India for his contribution to film making. He has also been awarded five National Awards, 20 Nandi Awards (awarded by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh) and 10 Filmfare Awards including Lifetime Achievement Award. His national award winning Swathi Muthyam was India’s official entry to the 59th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category.
 
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The stories that Viswanath told through his films were seemingly simple. They provide an uncomplicated, direct and pleasant cinematic enjoyment to the audience. At the same time they lend themselves to a nuanced and layered interpretation leading many to watch them again and again and come back with a new hitherto unseen aspect or a deeper understanding and realization, the release said.
 
One of his most memorable films, Sirivennela was a sensitive story of a blind flautist and a mute painter who fall in love with each other, over the love of music and their individual setbacks. It helped in changing the viewers’ perception of disability, to a large extent.  The musical compositions of this film are still fresh and soothing to the ears.
 
His film, Sankarabharanam, is one of India’s most memorable classics, which was appreciated across the world. 
 
A remarkable feature of his films is that all of them remain wholesome family entertainers. They have a fair share of humour, sentiments and contain scenic beauty, good music, powerful and realistic characters and most importantly concrete storylines, the release added.
 
The award was instituted by the Government to commemorate the contribution to the industry by Dadasaheb Phalke, generally regarded as the father of Indian cinema and the maker of India's first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra in 1913. 
 
The award was first presented in 1969, with the first recipient being actress Devika Rani. Previous winners of the award include Dilip Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Gulzar, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Soumitra Chatterjee, Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen.
 
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