Girish Karnad (1938-2019): A pictorial tribute to the actor-playwright

Brenda Watkins
June 10, 2019

His plays have been translated into English as well as different Indian languages. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy announced a holiday on account of Girish Karnad's demise.

Girish Karnad was born in Matheran in 1938. Girish Karnad's initial schooling was in Marathi. At 14, his parents moved to Dharwad in Karnataka, where he was exposed to travelling theatre groups - an interest ignited by his parents who were deeply interested in plays.

He also served as the director of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

A recipient of Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri and Jnanpith Award, Karnad was known for original writing style. The Kannada writer made his acting and screenwriting debut in a 1970 release called "Samskara". For his plays, Karnad won the Sahitya Academy award in 1994 and the Jnanpith award in 1998. Since then, he wrote many plays that won him national and worldwide appreciation.

Karnad was also seen in TV series Malgudi Days which was based on RK Narayan's book.

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He provided the voice of late President APJ Abdul Kalam in the audiobook of Kalam's autobiography "Wings of Fire". But in a career spanning six decades, he also featured in a stream of commercial potboilers like Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai in recent times.

Many celebrities from Bollywood and south showed their grief and tweeted their condolences. "May his soul rest in peace", Modi tweeted.

As a director, he helmed Kannada films such as "Vamsha Vriksha", "Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane", "Ondanondu Kaladalli", "Kanooru Heggadithi" and Hindi films "Godhuli" and "Utsav".

Javed Akhtar (L) and Girish Karnad discuss notes during the release of book "Deshakaala" at Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bangalore in 2010. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans.

Karnad had also criticised Nobel laureate V S Naipaul for his controversial views on Muslims in India, saying the writer had no idea of the community's contribution to the country's history.

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