Meenakshisundaram Ramasamy Viswanathan (1 July 1945 – 22 March 2020), best known by his stage name Visu, was an Indian writer, director, stage, film and television actor and talk-show host. Visu initially worked as an assistant to director K. Balachander until becoming a director himself. He later began acting, with his first film being Kudumbam Oru Kadambam (1981), directed by S. P. Muthuraman.
Meenakshisundaram Ramasamy Viswanathan
1 July 1945
Tamil Nadu, India
|Died||22 March 2020 (aged 74)|
|Occupation||Director, writer, stage actor, film actor, television host.|
He started his career as a theatre artist, working with Y. G. Parthasarathy’s drama troupe. He was writing scripts for stage dramas before getting into the film industry as an assistant to legendary director K. Balachander. During his time with Balachander, he wrote screenplays for numerous films including Pattina Pravesam (1977), Avan Aval Adhu (1980), Thillu Mullu (1981) and Netrikkan (1981). Thillu Mullu and Netrikkan, which were both released in 1981, became box office hits for actor Rajinikanth.The script and the flawless screenplay gave Rajinikanth a platform to prove that he can do comedy and not just action movies. Visu made his debut as an actor in the film Kudumbam Oru Kadambam (1981), for which he also wrote the screenplay. The film was directed by S. P. Muthuraman. Though Visu acted as a protagonist in a few of his own films, he was largely known as a character artist.
His first film as a director was Kanmani Poonga (1982). Most of his films including Manal Kayiru (1982), Dowry Kalyanam (1983), Samsaram Adhu Minsaram (1986), Thirumathi Oru Vegumathi (1987), Penmani Aval Kanmani (1988), Vedikkai En Vadikkai (1990) and Pattukottai Periyappa (1994) spoke about the issues of urban middle-class Brahminical families. These films, which were released in the mid-80s, turned out to be crowd pullers, particularly with regard to the female audience. His other super hit was Chidambara Rahasiyam (1985), which is considered a cult-classic.
Samsaram Adhu Minsaram (1986) was the first Tamil film to win the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.
As a writer, Viswanathan was known for his sharp and witty dialogues, that lent itself to family dramas. While he has directed a rage of actors on screen, he and his brother Kishmu used to star in his films as well in memorable roles. His film Neenga Nalla Irukkanum won the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues in 1992. Based on prohibition, the film was the last onscreen appearance of then chief minister, J. Jayalalithaa.
As an actor, he was last seen in Manal Kayiru 2 (2016), the sequel to one of his earliest directorial successes, Manal Kayiru.
The versatile actor is known to have starred in over 60 films and directed around 25 films.
– Visu in 2016
In Visu's films, all the characters were given equal importance. Often, there was huge house wherein a joint family would reside and the character of Visu would solve their problems. Many of Visu's film titles contain rhyming words, a trait which began with Samsaram Adhu Minsaram (1986). His movies focused on many family issues like dowry, need of remarriage for women, mother in law-daughter in law disputes and so on which were occurring that time. In most of the films he directed there is a character named Uma, named after his wife.
A philanthropist, Visu had been supporting the needy through his own foundation. He became known for hosting live debates on television, namely Visuvin Makkal Arangam on Jaya TV and Arattai Arangam on Sun TV. He joined and campaigned for BJP.
|1980||Avan Aval Adhu||N||N|
|1981||Thillu Mullu||N||As a film crew||Voice-Over Actor (Dubbing)|
|1981||Keezh Vaanam Sivakkum||N||N|
|1981||Kudumbam Oru Kadambam||N||Srinivasa Raghavan|
|1982||Kanmani Poonga||Cricketer Ramkumar|
|1982||Manal Kayiru||Uthramerur Narathar Naidu|
|1983||Oru Kai Parpom||N||N|
|1984||Nallavanuku Nallavan||N||Owner Gangadharan|
|1984||Puyal Kadantha Boomi||Nammaalu alies Namachivaayan|
|1984||Vaai Sollil Veeranadi||Vengapuli Varadhachari|
|1985||Aval Sumangalithan||Watchman Aarumugam|
|1986||Mr. Bharath||N||Kumaresa Gounder|
|1986||Samsaram Adhu Minsaaram||Ammaiyappa Mudaliyar||National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment|
|1986||Mella Thirandhathu Kadhavu||N||N||Thulasi's father|
|1986||Thaaiku Oru Thaalaattu||N||N||Ponnambalam|
|1987||Thirumathi Oru Vegumathi||Naagarkoil Naadhamuni|
|1987||Kavalan Avan Kovalan||Prabhu's Father-in-law|
|1987||Aadade Aadharam||Telugu film|
|1987||Kathai Kathayam Karanamam||N||N|
|1988||Penmani Aval Kanmani||Radio Mama|
|1988||Veedu Manaivi Makkal||N||N||Subbaiah Pillai|
|1988||Mappillai Sir||N||N||Sock Puppet|
|1989||Sakalakala Sammandhi||Mayavaram Malayappan|
|1990||Varavu Nalla Uravu||Appa Ambalavanar||Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Story Writer|
|1990||Vedikkai En Vadikkai||Kaavisattai Kandasamy|
|1992||Urimai Oonjaladugirathu||Kasturi's Father|
|1992||Neenga Nalla Irukkanum||National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues|
|1993||Chinna Mapillai||N||N||Marriage Broker|
|1994||Pattukottai Periyappa||Pattukottai Periyappa|
|1994||Aranmanai Kaavalan||N||N||CBI Officer|
|1994||Vaa Magale Vaa||Viswanathan|
|1994||Vanaja Girija||N||N||Business man Ramanathan|
|1994||Vaanga Partner Vaanga||N||N||Ganapathi|
|1995||God Father||N||N||Viswanatham||Telugu film|
|1996||Irattai Roja||N||N||Anchor||Guest appearance|
|1996||Meendum Savithri||Narayana Moorthy|
|2001||Krishna Krishna||N||N||Advocate Viswanathan||Guest appearance|
|2001||Middle Class Madhavan||N||N||Advocate|
|2001||Vadagupatti Maapillai||N||N||Gomathi Shankar|
|2007||Cheena Thaana 001||N||N||Governor||Guest appearance|
|2007||Nenjirukkumvarai Ninaivirukkum||N||N||Guest appearance|
|2008||Ellam Avan Seyal||N||N|
|2013||Alex Pandian||N||N||Chief Minister|
|2013||Oruvar Meethu Iruvar Sainthu||N||N||Judge|
|2016||Manal Kayiru 2||N||Uthramerur Narathar Naidu|
- "CHATTING for a cause". The Hindu. 19 August 2004. Archived from the original on 19 October 2004. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- "TANTIS". tamilfilmdirectorsassociation.com. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- Balasubramanian, V. (3 April 2014). "I never left the stage". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 11 September 2019.
- "Looking back at the golden years". The New Indian Express. 9 July 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
- Ashok Kumar, S. R. (26 March 2020). "Visu, a colossus". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- Rangan, Baradwaj (23 March 2020). "A Tribute To Visu, Known For His Middle-Class Melodramas Like Samsaram Adhu Minsaram". Film Companion. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
- "Remembering Visu, the king of the middle-class family drama". The News Minute. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
- thmrn. "The Hindu: Inimitable Visu". hindu.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2005. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
- Devalla, Rani (11 November 2014). "A Passionate journey". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 11 September 2019.
- "Veteran actor Visu joins BJP". Deccan Chronicle. 31 January 2016. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- "Veteran Kollywood director Visu passes away at 74". The New Indian Express. 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- "உடல்நலக்குறைவால் நடிகர் விசு காலமானார்..!" [Actor Visu expired due to illness]. Dinamalar (in Tamil). 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- "Director Visu passes away". The Times of India. 22 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- "Veteran Kollywood director Visu passes away at 74". The News Minute. 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.