Home India Corner Jnanpith and Padma Awardee Girish Karnad Passes Away at 81

Jnanpith and Padma Awardee Girish Karnad Passes Away at 81

girish karnad
Indian playwright Girish Karnad passes away due to multiple-organ failure

India’s accomplished playwright, actor, writer and intellectual, Girish Karnad passed away on Monday in Bengaluru. He was a Jnanpith and Padma awardee

Jnanpith and Padma awardee Girish Karnad breathed his last early on Monday. The noted playwright and actor passed away at the age of 81 due to multiple organ failure.

After suffering from multiple age-related ailments for a while, Girish Karnad passed away at his Lavelle Road residence in Bengaluru. He is survived by his wife and two kids.

Girish Karnad was amongst the most prominent names during the renaissance age of Indian theatre, between 1960s and the 1970s.  

The Government of Karnataka has declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Monday to honour the Padma awardee.

Further, a three-day state mourning has been announced for Karnataka’s 7th Jnanpith awardee writer.

Much of Karnad’s writing employed historical or mythological characters to reflect contemporary reality. His plays Tughlaq and Hayavadana are popular examples of the same.

While his language of choice as a playwright was Kannada, most of his work has been translated into English and other South Indian languages.

Karnad’s first play, Yayati was published when the playwright was only 23 years old. The play was based on King Yayati, a prominent character in Hindu mythology.

Tughlaq, published three years later in 1964, was an intellectual juxtaposition of 14th-century Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq’s idealism and the Nehruvian era.

The play was staged in London by India’s National School of Drama for the 1982 Festival of India.

At the movies, Karnad’s debut acting and screenwriting assignment, Samskara (1970) won the first-ever President’s Golden Lotus Award for Kannada cinema.

He also played a central character in India’s immensely popular TV series, Malgudi Days (1986-87). Karnad was also the host for Doordarshan’s weekly science program Turning Point.

The accomplished public intellectual has played interesting roles in many successful Hindi and Kannada films.

Some of his most recent works included blockbuster Hindi films like Ek Tha Tiger (2012) and its sequel, Tiger Zinda Hai (2017). Karnad won many awards for literature, including the Padma Shri in 1974, Padma Bhushan in 1992, Sahitya Academy Award in 1994, and Jnanpith Award and Kalidas Samman in 1998.

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