Film, theatre maestro Girish Karnad no more

Girish Karnad veteran actor director and playwright passes away aged 81 at Bengaluru residence

Girish Karnad. Image from Twitter/@BagriFoundation

Karnad worked predominantly in Bollywood and South films. He made his acting and screenwriting debut in the 1970 Kannada film Samskara, based on U.R. Ananthamurthy's famous novel.

Speaking to film maker K.M. Chaitanya, who made a documentary on him two years ago, Karnad spoke of how his earliest passion was to make sketches of famous people.

Noted playwright, actor and director Girish Karnad, a progressive voice that championed the freedom of expression, died at his residence here on Monday, official sources said. In Kannada, key films directed or co-directed by Karnad include Vamsha Vriksha (1972), about the gradual deterioration of the affairs of an extended family, Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane (1977), about the conflicts of a progressive couple with the strict religious norms of the society around him, and the action drama Ondanondu Kaladalli (1978), inspired by Akira Kurosawa's samurai films.

For television audiences, Karnad may be best remembered as Swami's father in the much-loved Malgudi Days or as the presenter of Doordarshan's science show Turning Point, while for Hindi movie audiences, his roles in Manthan, Nishant, Pukar, Iqbal, Dor and Ek Tha Tiger left an impact. He reprised his role in Tiger Zinda Hai. He was the recipient of the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary prize, in 1999 for his contributions to literature and theatre.

He also received the Sahitya Academy Award and numerous National Film Awards. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy announced a holiday for government offices, schools and colleges on Monday following his demise. "In his life, he embodied the richness and depth of Indian civilisation more nobly and less self-consciously than anyone else I knew". Several filmmakers expressed condolences as well.

He was an eminent playwright with works such as "Nagmandala", "Yayati" and "Tughlaq", which was one of the most successfully performed plays, to his credit.

Here are some other tributes from Twitter.

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