Bengaluru: Renowned playwright, writer, actor Girish Karnad dies at 81

Carla Harmon
June 10, 2019

Girish Karnad's death brought a sense of shock among the theatre and film fraternity on Monday as the veteran succumbed to a prolonged illness at his Bengaluru residence. He was born in Matheran, Maharashtra.

Satish Shah (left) and Girish Karnad. 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.

His frequent collaborators, director Shyam Benegal, and actress Shabana Azmi, were both too emotional to talk about the sudden demise of Girish Karnad, but the film fraternity at large was generous in praising not just his talent but his benevolence too. The Kannada writer made his acting and screenwriting debut in a 1970 release called "Samskara". Karnad was a Jnanpith award victor and he was also honoured with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan, apart from multiple National Film Awards and a Sahitya Akademi honour. He was given Jnanpith Award, the highest literary recognition in India, in 1998.


Karnad was also seen in TV series Malgudi Days which was based on RK Narayan's book. He wrote the screenplay and played the lead role in the film.

Kaadu, Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane, Ondanondu Kaladalli and Kanooru Heggadithi were some of his acclaimed works as a director.

He was married to Saraswathy Ganapathy and the couple have two children. He was also being considered for Ali Abbas Zafar's Tiger 3 alongside Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif.


Many celebrities from Bollywood and south showed their grief and tweeted their condolences.

Javed Akhtar (L) and Girish Karnad discuss notes during the release of book "Deshakaala" at Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bangalore in 2010. "Girish ji's views and artistic contribution will be missed by the country".

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal-Secular supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers D.V. Sadananda Gowda have offered their condolences, as did a slew of actors and technicians from the Indian film industry.


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