Multilingual cine and theatre personality Girish Karnad passed away this morning due to multiple organ failure. The South filmmaker and actor was aged 81 years.
Girish was reportedly at his residence in Bengaluru at the time of his death. The playwright had penned a drama which was to be enacted by renowned actress, Shabana Azmi on June 14 at a cultural centre in Bangalore. An anomaly of love and suffering, the play revolved around two sisters, showing their fraught arrangement and how they continually modify the image of each other while responding to their own lives together.
Girish was also a Rhodes Scholar, who rose in the 1960s as playwright marking the coming of age of modern Indian playwriting in Kannada. Working predominantly in South Indian cinema and Bollywood, Girish is credited with Jnanpith Award, the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.
While at Oxford, Girish wrote his first play, Yayati in 1961, which was critically acclaimed followed by the next play, Tughlaq in 1964. While the first one established Girish’s use of the themes of history and mythology, given that the storyline revolved around a mythological king, Tughlaq remains among his best-known works. As the name suggests, the play was crafted on the story of the 14th-century sultan Muḥammad ibn Tughluq and garnered Girish enough limelight to be reckoned among playwrights in the country. The thirteen-scenes play is set during the reign of Tughlaq.
Considered one of Kannada literature’s foremost playwrights, given his numerous plays in Kannada including Yayti in 1961, Hayavadana in 1972 and Nagamandala in 1988, Girish’s death marks the end of an era. Offering his condolences at Girish’s demise, Former Chief Minister of Karnataka Sadananda Gowda also tweeted, in Kannada, saying, “The news of the death of Gyanapitha awardee, senior theater artist Dr. Girish Karnad, was revealed. His contribution to the Saraswat world is vast. Let us pray in the Lord that peace be to the soul.”
PM Modi too paid his condolences as he tweeted, “Girish Karnad will be remembered for his versatile acting across all mediums. He also spoke passionately on causes dear to him. His works will continue being popular in the years to come. Saddened by his demise. May his soul rest in peace.”
According to the reports, Girish’s last rites have been kept as a total family affair and mediapersons have been kept from entering the house on the request of the family. Girish is survived by wife Saraswathy Ganapathy and two children.