Girish Karnad, 81, Passes Away at His Bengaluru Residence

Jnanpith winner Girish Karnad dead at 81

Karnad has predominantly worked in Bollywood films and has also immensely contributed to South Indian cinemas. In his plays, he combined history and myth to expound upon contemporary issues plaguing the society. His plays which were in Kannada were adapted in several languages by legendary theatre personalities namely Ebrahim Alkazi, B V Karanth, Alyque Padamsee, Prasanna, Arvind Gaur, Satyadev Dubey, Vijaya Mehta, Shyamanand Jalan, Amal Allana and Zafer Mohiuddin. Since then, he wrote many plays that won him national and worldwide appreciation.

He was conferred Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Indian government. In 1998, he was conferred Jnanapith Award, the highest literary honour conferred in India for his contributions to literature and theatre. Also a Padma Bhusan recipient, he made his screenwriting debut back in 1970 Kannada film Samskara.

Some of his popular Kannada movies include Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane, Ondanondu Kaladalli, Cheluvi, Kaadu and Kanooru Heggaditi. The playwright had penned a drama which was to be enacted by renowned actress, Shabana Azmi on June 14 at a cultural centre in Bangalore.

The multifaceted author and playwright also hosted a weekly science program on the Doordarshan titled Turning Point.

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Even as he aged, he continued to make public appearances at panel discussions and literature festivals to discuss his work. When he sent a copy to O'Casey seeking an autograph, he received a curt reply asking Karnad not to waste his time.

He was born in Maharashtra on May 19, 1938. In 1958, he got his Bachelor's degree from Karnataka University in 1958.

He is survived by his wife Saraswathi and son Raghu Karnad.

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