CHENNAI: Noted theatre person and character artiste Poornam Viswanathan passed away here on Wednesday after a brief illness. He was 87.
Mr. Viswanathan was known for his remarkable performances in Tamil theatre and films. In every role he played, he paid great attention to dialogue delivery and body language.
He started performing on stage when he was 18. He later moved to New Delhi for a few years, where he was part of the ‘South Indian Troupe,’ with renowned critic Subbudu. Mr.Viswanathan, who worked as news reader at All India Radio there, deemed it a matter of great pride to have announced the news of India obtaining independence in the first news bulletin broadcast on August 15, 1947.
He was transferred to Chennai in 1964. His portrayal of roles in plays scripted by Marina, such as ‘Thanikuduthanam,’ ‘Oor vambu,’ and ‘Kaal kattu,’ won him great acclaim. Mr. Viswanathan, who had acted in plays written by Sujatha, was deeply affected by the writer’s passing away this February. His powerful portrayal of characters in plays such as ‘Kadavul vandirundar,’ ‘Adimaigal’ and ‘Oonjal’ were hailed by the audience. His passion for theatre made him start a troupe of his own, ‘Poornam New Theatres.’
Mr. Viswanathan’s performance in films such as ‘Varusham 16,’ ‘Keladi Kanmani,’ ‘Aasai,’ ‘Mahanadi’ and ‘Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu’ are unforgettable. He was at ease in both comedy and melodrama.
He served the Press Information Bureau in Chennai as assistant information officer and later served as editor of ‘Thittam’ and senior correspondent of ‘Yojana’ magazines brought out by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry. He penned several plays and short stories. He was very interested in the fine arts and was often spotted at sabhas during the December music festival.
Mr. Viswanathan is survived by his wife, son and two daughters.