Veteran actor and playwright Girish Karnad passed away in Bengaluru today at the age of 81 from multiple organ failure.
A winner of highest literary honour Jnanpith, he was conferred the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India and has won four Filmfare Awards, of which three are Filmfare Award for Best Director – Kannada and the fourth a Filmfare Best Screenplay Award.
Karnad was born on May 19, 1938 in Matheran, Maharashtra. His early 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. As a youngster, Karnad was an admirer of Yakshagana (a traditional theatre form) and theater in his village.
Karnad’s acting and screenwriting debut came in 1970 in the Kannada film ‘Samskara’ (1970), which is based on a novel by UR Ananthamurthy. The film won the first President’s Golden Lotus Award for Kannada cinema.
In Tamil, he was part of movies such as ’24’, ‘Mugamoodi’, ‘Hey Ram’, ‘Minsara Kanavu’, ‘Ratchagan’ and ‘Kadhalan’.