Girish Karnad, an Indian playwright, author, actor and film director whose movies and plays were written largely in Kannada, explored the present by way of the past. He was born on 19 May, 1938 in Matheran, Bombay presidency and died on June 10, 2019, Bengaluru, Karnataka. Completed his graduation from Karnataka University in 1958, after that he studied philosophy, politics and economics as a Rhodes Scholar at the Oxford University.
He wrote his first play, “Yayati in 1961” story about the mythological king the play established Karnad’s use of the themes of history and mythology that would inform his work over the following decades. Karnad’s next
play, Tughlaq remains among the best known of his works.
Samskara marked Karnad’s entry into filmmaking. He wrote the screenplay and played
the lead role in the film, an adaptation of an anticaste novel of the same name by U.R.
Ananthamurthy. Karnad followed with Vamsha Vriksha, codirected by B.V. Karanth.
For his contributions to theatre, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s top civilian honours, in 1974. His well- known films in Kannada included Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane in 1977, Godhuli and Ondanondu Kaaladalli. He also worked in Hindi play Utsav in 1984 an adaptation of Shudraka’s Sanskrit play Mrichchakatika.
Karnad was awarded by the Indian government for its highest honours in 1992, the Padma
Bhushan, in recognition of his contributions to the arts. He was the recipient of the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary prize, in 1999 for his contributions to literature and theatre. In his last days, he actively participated still in all his endeavors.