CHENNAI: Celebrated actor Kamal Haasan has penned a heartfelt note for the late Telugu filmmaker K. Viswanath, who breathed his last on Thursday.
The two had worked on iconic films such as 'Sagara Sangamam', 'Swathi Muthyam' and 'Subhasankalpam', and Kamal Haasan considers Viswanath to be his mentor.
He tweeted: "Salute to a master." The poignant words, followed by a tribute penned in the actor's hand, are an indication of his esteem for the legendary director who highlighted Indian art and culture in his movies.
The letter reads: "Kalathapasvi K. Viswanath gaaru fully understood the transcience of life and immortality of art. Hence his art will be celebrated beyond his lifetime and reign. Long live his art. An ardent fan, Kamal Haasan."
The two had first collaborated for the 1983 movie 'Sagara Sangamam', which showcased Kamal Haasan's classical dance prowess as a proponent of Kuchipudi in Andhra Pradesh. The film went on to win two National Film Awards, three Filmfare South Awards and the Nandi Award for Best Feature Film (Bronze).
Viswanath's Telugu movie 'Swati Muthyam' featured Kamal Haasan as the central character -- an autistic man who comes to the rescue of a young widow. The 1985 movie was India's entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
The two had last met when Kamal Haasan called on the legendary director during his visit to Hyderabad in November last year.
Tributes, meanwhile, kept pouring in on Friday from leading Tollywood personalities.
Megastar Chiranjeevi, actors Pawan Kalyan, Venkatesh and Murali Mohan, filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli, producer Allu Arvind and others paid their last respects at Vishwanath's Filmnagar residence in Hyderabad.
Actors Naga Babu, Kota Srinivas and Brahmanandam, directors Gunasekhar, Raghavendra Rao, Ashwini Dutt and C. Kalyan, music director M.M. Keeravaani, and lyricist Chandrabose were among the other film personalities who were seen mourning the legend's demise at his home.
Telugu Film Producers' Council president C. Kalyan announced that a holiday has been declared for the industry on Friday as a mark of respect to the legendary director.
Talking to media persons after paying his last respects, Chrianjeevi said that Vishwanath's passing leaves behind an irreplaceable void in Indian cinema and is a personal loss to him. The megastar said Vishwanath brought global recognition to Telugu cinema.
"It was my good fortune that I had an opportunity to work under such a great director. For actors like me, he was an encyclopedia. His films are like a library for today's young directors," Chiranjeevi said.
"When somebody anywhere in the world asks us what is the greatness of Telugu cinema, we proudly say we have K. Vishwanath. Your signature on Telugu cinema and art in general will shine brightly forever," tweeted Rajamouli.
"Another legend lost!! K Viswanath garu made a lasting impact with his memorable movies and characters. May his legacy continue to inspire future generations and his soul rest in peace," wrote actor Nagarjuna.
Actors Balakrishna, Junior NTR, Ram Charan and Nani were among the other film personalities to mour the death of the maestro.