N. Viswanathan, also credited as Calcutta Viswanathan, is a Tamil, film actor. He was born in the year 1929 in Vellore, Madras Presidency in India. During his childhood, he moved to Kolkata and studied at St. Xavier’s College. Because of his outstanding command over English, Bengali, and perfect British accent, he worked as an English professor in St. Xavier’s for over 40 years. He attended Oxford University for a short period to complete his Masters in Political Science and English.
N. Viswanathan had a short stint as a news reader for Doordarshan and became a public speaker, who have joined several debates and received accolades for his country. In 1961, he received an offer for a role in Mrinal Sen’s Bengali film, Punascha; a film that won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali. The following year, he had a chance to act in Satyajit Ray’s Bengali film, Kanchenjungha. He earned critical acclaim for his performance in both films. Since then, he started to receive several film offers in Tamil, Bengali, and English languages. During the 70s, he started acting in the Tamil film industry, mostly with
Kamal Haasan in the 1976 films Lalitha, Moondru Mudichu, and Mogam Muppadhu Varusham.
Prior to this, he also appeared in Devaki Kumar Bose’ bilingual film, Rathna Deepam, in 1951. N. Viswanathan was cast in prominent roles in S.P. Muthuraman’s Kavari Maan (1979) and Balu Mahendra’s Moodu Pani (1980). In the year 2000’s, he appeared as Rajinikanth’s father in the fantasy political film, Baba. He was later seen in Andhakarer Shabdo and Byaticromi. N. Viswanathan was popular for his pipe-smoking, which he adapted in his films. He is a then member of Amateurs and the People’s Little Theater (PLT) by
Utpal Dutt, but eventually established his own theatre group, the Calcutta Players.
Aside from being a film actor, he acted and produced several Shakespeare’s plays. He was married to Paromita, and they have a son named Ashoke Viswanathan, a Bengali theatre actor, and director. Due to a heart attack, he died at the age of 81 on November 17, 2010, at his residence in Kolkata.