Girish Karnad Indian Author, Actor, Playwriter and Filmmaker passes away at his home in Bengaluru on Monday at the age 81.
It is the end of an era in the Indian cinema as the life of the noted theatre personality comes to a standstill.
He was born in Maharashtra on May 19, 1938. He got his Bachelor’s degree from Karnataka University in 1958. And further proceeded to study at Oxford where he completed his M.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1963.
Karnad is considered as one of Kannada literature’s foremost playwrights.
Girish Karnad wrote his first play, the critically acclaimed Yayati(1961), while he was still studying in Oxford. Which is centred on the story of a mythological king, the play established Karnad’s use of the themes of history and mythology. Further, his next play, Tughlaq(1964), tells the story of the 14th-Century Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq.
Girish Karnad has written numerous plays in Kannada. And his most famous include Yayati in 1961, Hayavadana in 1972, and Nagamandala in 1988. Tughlaq, a play he wrote in 1964 made Karnad a name to reckon among playwrights in the country.
Girish was awarded the Padma Shri in 1974. And in 1992, the Indian government awarded Karnad the Padma Bhushan for his contribution towards Arts. And, he was also the recipient of the Jnanpith Award, in 1999 for his contribution to literature and theatre.
Karnad’s acting and screenwriting debut came in 1970 in the Kannada film ‘Samskara’(1970), which is based on a novel by U.R Ananthamurthy. Furthermore, the film won the first President’s Golden Lotus Award for Kannada cinema. Karnad followed with Vamsh Vriksha(1971), co-directed by BV Karanth. During this period, Karnad continued to produce work as a playwright, including Hayavadana(1971). Hence, widely acclaimed among the most important plays of post-independence India.
Karnad’s other well-known films in Kannada include Tabbaliyu Neenade magane(1977) and Ondanondu Kaaladalli(1978). He also worked in Hindi, directing the critically acclaimed Utsav(1984), an adaptation of Shudraka’s 4th-century Sanskrit play Mrichcakatika.
The multifaceted author and playwright also hosted a weekly science program on Doordarshan. It was titled ‘Turning Point’. And featuring Indian scientist Yash Pal, the award-winning show explained complex, modern scientific discoveries in simple language.
Even as he aged, he continued to make public appearances at panel discussions and literature festivals.
Indian Arts vertical has suffered a huge loss and we will never find someone like him !
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