Revisiting Kamal Haasan-K Viswanath’s Sagara Sangamam: Of art and devotion

K Viswanath directorial Sagara Sangamam, starring Kamal Haasan, Jaya Prada and SP Sailaja in the lead roles, hit theatres on June 3, 1983.

‘Kalathapaswi’ K Viswanath is considered one of the greatest filmmakers that India has ever produced. And, ‘Ulaganayagan’ Kamal Haasan is an actor par excellence. When these two behemoths join forces, you can expect a master-class in filmmaking. Sagara Sangamam (1983), Swathimuthyam (1986), and Subha Sankalpam (1995) are movies that emerged from the association, leaving an everlasting impact on south Indian cinema.

Sagara Sangamam hit theatres on June 3, 1983. Despite the multiple television re-runs, even today, the film finds takers.

With Kamal Haasan, Jaya Prada and SP Sailaja in the lead roles, Sagara Sangamam is the story of Balakrishna (Kamal Haasan), who is a classical dancer living hand to mouth. While classical dance is at the core of Sagara Sangamam, the movie also touches upon the value of an artist and his/her craft in today’s commercialised world. While Kamal Haasan steals the show, K Viswanath delivers a strong message with the film. The music by maestro Ilaiyaraaja is the icing on the cake.

Songs like “Thakita Thadimi”, “Vedam Auvanuvuna Nadam”, “Om Namah Shivaaya”, “Vevela Gopemmala”, “Mounamelanoyi Ee Marapurani Reyi” and “Naada Vinodamu Natya Vilasamu” still remain etched in the memory of fans. This film also gave Ilaiyaraaja his first National Film Award for Best Music Direction. SP Balasubrahmanyam won the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer.

Sagara Sangamam also won the Nandi Award for Best Feature Film (Bronze), Nandi Award for Best Actor (Kamal Haasan), Nandi Award for Best Art Director (Thota Tharani), Nandi Award for Best Editor (GG Krishna Rao), Nandi Award for Best Audiographer (AR Swaminadhan) and Nandi Award for Best Female Playback Singer (S Janaki for “Om Namah Shivaaya”).

Sagara Sangamam was released in Tamil and Malayalam with the titles Salangai Oli and Sagara Sangamam, respectively. It turned out to be a blockbuster in all languages.

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