Noted playwright, actor and filmmaker Girish Karnad passed away on Monday morning in Bengaluru. He was 81. He is said to have suffered multiple organ failure and breathed his last in the morning. Karnad was born in Matheran, Maharashtra in 1938. A Rhodes scholar in Oxford, Karnad has written several plays in Kannada and is considered one of the most prominent playwrights in Kannada literature. While at Oxford, Karnad wrote his first play, the critically acclaimed 'Yayati' in 1961. His other acclaimed works include 'Tughlaq' (1964), 'Hayavadana' (1972) and 'Nagamandala' (1988).
The Jnanapith Award recipient made his acting and screenwriting debut in the Kannada movie 'Samskara' in 1970, based on a novel by U.R. Ananthamurthy and won the first President's Golden Lotus Award for Kannada cinema. He made his directorial debut with 'Vamsha Vriksha' (1971), based on a Kannada novel by S.L. Bhyrappa. Other popular films in Kannada include 'Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane' (1977) and 'Ondanondu Kaaladalli' (1978).
Karnad was conferred the Padma Shri in 1974 and the Padma Bhushan in 1992 for his contributions to the arts. For his contributions in literature and theatre, Karnad received the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary prize, in 1999. He was last seen in the 2018 Kannada film 'Neenillada Male.'
Karnad is survived by wife Dr Saraswathi Ganapathy, son and journalist Raghu Karnad and daughter Radha, a doctor.