July 31, 2009 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
Viswanath Kasi was a multi-faceted personality like his father right from the time he was a child. His father a farmer from Purushotthapatanam near Rajahmundry in East Godavari was well versed in dramas, singing, bajans and poems, he also nurtured an ambition to act. So when Viswanath finished his studies and expressed his desire to act, his father was more than willing but his mother was apprehensive that her son could get spoilt in the big bad world of movies.
Whilst he was in intermediate, director K. Balachander came to his village and stayed put for twenty days to shoot the movie Tholi Kodi Koosindi. Viswanath had it in him to describe the film story differently to his folks and resolved to become an actor.
He completed his graduation and sought his parents permission to leave to Chennai, and they went along with him to see him off. Viswanath then embarked on a journey from being an assistant to an associate, co-director of movies and got busy. He worked as a co-director for Preminchukundam Raa, Ganesh, Kalisundam Raa, etc., and then eventually directed Nuvvu Leka Nenu Lenu which went to become a massive hit. He followed it up with Kalyanram's debut Tholi Chupulone and then he says his 'bad time' began.
Viswanath adds, "My bad time began for this good period. I wasn't wasting a single minute, I had written eight stories in that gap and was about to direct a movie when Naachavule happened. I was holidaying with my family in Annavaram when Ravibabu said he had a role for me. I spoke to my family and they were against me acting in films. My family said no but I didn't say no to Ravi."
He continues and says if there is some key decision he needs to take in life, he seeks everyone's counsel but finally does what his heart says. The actor explains his family is conservative and never once visited him on the sets in the past twenty years. They were of the opinion that an actor's life is far more demanding and that he wouldn't be available to the family, also his directorial ambitions might suffer in the process. He put his family's fears to rest and signed on the dotted line, the rest is history.
Nacchavule surprised, shocked everyone in the industry and he was deluged with offers, compliments and rave reviews. His short-tempered, egoistic role as Tanish's father who undergoes a change of heart and attitude towards his children was heart-wrenching. He is now doing four films and might announce his directorial venture next year. He says, "I'm lucky in a way that I'm getting all good roles. People are thinking twice before approaching me, they don't want to offer me a character and not make full use of me, or waste me."
So what about his family's reaction to Nacchavule? "Oh!", he says, "They came out of the theatres weeping. My relatives, friends were shocked that a mild-mannered, soft person could scream so much and shout his guts out!"