Noted actor, playwright Girish Karnad is no more

Karnad, 81, passed away in Bengaluru on Monday after a prolonged illness

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 10, 2019 2:20 PM

Girish Karnad, noted actor, filmmaker and playwright, passed away after a prolonged illness in Bengaluru on Monday. He was 81.

Karnad, a Jnanpith award winner, is one of the well-known faces of modern Indian playwriting in Kannada. He wrote his first play Yayati at the age of 23. Karnad used history and mythology to tackle contemporary issues. His rise as a playwright in the 1960s marked the coming of age of modern Indian playwriting in Kannada, just as Badal Sarkar did in Bengali, Vijay Tendulkar in Marathi, and Mohan Rakesh in Hindi. His list of famous plays include Tughlaq, Hayavadana and Nagamandala. 

Karnad made his acting as well as screenwriting debut with Kannada movie Samskara in 1970. He played the role of Swami’s father in the TV series Malgudi Days. In the early 1990s, he hosted weekly science programme named Turning Point on Doordarshan featuring scientist Yash Pal. Karnad made his directorial debut in 1971 with Kannada movie Vamsha Vriksha that won him best National Award for Best Direction. 

Karnad’s famous Kannada movies include Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane, Ondanondu Kaladalli, Cheluvi and Kaadu and Kanooru Heggaditi . His Hindi movies include Nishaant , Manthan , Swami, Pukar, Iqbal, Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai. 

In 1974, he was conferred Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in 1992. He won Sahitya Academy Award in 1994 and Jnanpith in 1998. 

One of the last public memories of Karnad is when he attended and event protesting the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh wearing a placard saying #MeetooUrbanNaxal. 
Politicians, celebrities and his fans took to social media to pay homage to the legend. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Shashi Tharoor, Shabana Azmi, Ramachandra Guha, Kamal Hassan, among others, shared their condolences on Karnad’s demise. 


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