Padma Shri And Padma Bhushan Girish Karnad Dies At 81

Padma Shri And Padma Bhushan Girish Karnad Dies At 81

Indian actor and playwright Girish Karnad passed away on Monday after suffering from multiple organ failure at his residence in the Indian city of Bengaluru.

A Rhodes scholar who did his masters in Philosophy and economics at Oxford University, Karnad worked with Oxford University Press in the initial part of his career.

His plays, written in Kannada, have been translated into English and several Indian languages.

Karnad has received a number of awards for his work, including one India's highest civilian honours, the Padma Bhushan, in 1992 and the Jnanpith Award, arguably the country's most prestigious literary prize, in 1999.

He made his acting debut and screenwriting debut in iconic Kannada movie, "Samskara" (1970), based on a novel by UR Ananthamurthy. He often used mythology and history to comment on topical issues. Karnad's next play, Tughlaq (1964), tells the story of the 14th-century sultan Muḥammad bin Tughluq and remains among the best known of his works. Other popular films in Kannada include Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane (1977) and Ondanondu Kaaladalli (1978).

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Girish Karnad, who has been a Jnanpith awardee among many other things, breathed his last on Monday morning. In Bollywood, he was last seen in Ali Abbas Zafar's 2017 film "Tiger Zinda Hai" where he played the RAW chief Dr Shenoy.

Karnad's contributions to theatre and cinema fetched him several accolades. He has also served as director of the Film and Television Institute of India (1974-1975) and chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of the Performing Arts (1988-93).

Karnad's home state of Karnataka has declared the day a holiday for schools, universities and government offices.

Historian Ramachandra Guha wrote, "In his plays, Girish Karnad beautifully and seamlessly blended North and South, the folk and the classical, the demotic and the scholarly".

Actor-filmmaker-politican Kamal Haasan acknowledged Karnad's influence over screenwriters such as him.

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