Today in New Delhi, India
Jun 20, 2019-Thursday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Girish Karnad dies at 81: As an era ends, revisiting his six-decade long career

The award-winning playwright and cinema personality Girish Karnad had a career that spanned over six decades. Karnad died in Bengaluru on Monday morning.

bollywood Updated: Jun 10, 2019 11:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Girish Karnad,Girish Karnad Plays,Girish Karnad Films
Girish Karnad in a still from Malgudi Days. The actor-playwright died in Bengaluru on Monday.

Veteran playwright, actor, filmmaker and Jnanpith award winner Girish Karnad died at his Bengaluru residence on Monday morning. He was 81. “Girish Karnad died at home at around 8.30 am due to age-related illness,” an official in the Karnataka chief minister’s office told IANS.

Karnad was an award-winning playwright and a Rhodes Scholar, whose worrks spanned across mediums and genres. He made his film debut with Vamsha Vriksha (1971), based on a Kannada novel by SL Bhyrappa. The film won the National Film Award for Best Direction and three Filmfare Awards in 1972.

In Hindi cinema, he is known for films such as Nishaant (1975), Manthan (1976), Swami (1977) and Pukar (2000). He has appeared in a number of films by Nagesh Kukunoor, beginning with Iqbal (2005), in which he played a ruthless cricket coach. Other Kukunoor films include Dor (2006), 8x10 Tasveer (2009) and Aashayein (2010). He played a key role in Salman Khan’s movies Ek Tha Tiger (2012) and its sequel Tiger Zinda Hai (2017).

His TV credits include Malgudi Days in which he played Swami's father and a hosting stint in the science magazine Turning Point on Doordarshan in the early 1990s. Karnad was one of the most prominent artistic voices of his generation. 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’s a complete bibliography and filmography (as director)


Vamsha Vriksha (1971, Kannada)
DR Bendre (1972, documentary)
Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane in (1977, Kannada)
Godhuli (1977, Hindi)
Ondanondu Kaladalli (1978, Kannada)
Kanooru Heggadithi (Kannada)
Kaadu (1973, Kannada)
Durga in Mahendar
Utsav (Hindi)
Woh Ghar (1984, Hindi), based on Kirtinath Kurtakoti’s Kannada play Aa Mani
The Lamp in the Niche (1990) (documentary)
Cheluvi (1992, Kannada and Hindi (dubbed))
Chidambara Rahasya (2005, Kannada) (TV film for DD1)


Plays in Kannada

Maa Nishaadha (One Act Play)
Yayati (1961)
Tughlaq (1964) (translated in Hindustani by BV Karanth. Major Indian directors who have staged it include Ebrahim Alkazi, Prasanna, Arvind Gaur, Dinesh Thakur & Shyamanand Jalan (in Bengali).
Hayavadana (1972)
Anjumallige (1977) (translated in Bengali under the title Jamini, by Dr Biswa Roy)
Hittina Hunja aka Bali (The Sacrifice) (1980)
Nagamandala (1988) (Play with Cobra)
Taledanda (1990) (Death by Beheading). Its Hindi title is Rakt-Kalyan, translated by Ram Gopal Bajaj, first directed by Ebrahim Alkazi, then by Arvind Gaur for Asmita Theater Group, New Delhi.
Agni mattu Male (1995) (Agni Aur Varsha, The Fire and the Rain), first directed by Prasanna.
Tipu Sultan Kanda Kanasu (The Dreams of Tipu Sultan)
Odakalu Bimba (2006) (Hindi, Bikre Bimb; English, A Heap of Broken Images)
Maduve Album (2006)
Flowers (2012)
Benda Kaalu on Toast (2012)

Plays in English

Tughlaq, Hayavadana, Bali: The Sacrifice, and Naga Mandala
Tale-Danda, The Fire and the Rain, The Dreams of Tippu Sultan, Two Monologues: Flowers and Broken Images
Wedding Album
Boiled Beans on Toast

Awards and honours

For literature

Sangeet Natak Akademi award and Varthur navya Award – 1972
Padma Shri – 1974
Padma Bhushan – 1992
Kannada Sahitya Parishat Award – 1992
Sahitya Academy award – 1994
Jnanpith Award – 1998
Kalidas Samman – 1998
Rajyotsava Award
University of Southern California, Los Angeles – 2011

For Cinema

National Film Awards

1971: Best Direction: Vamsha Vriksha (with BV Karanth)
1971: Best Feature Film in Kannada: Vamsha Vriksha
1973: Second Best Feature Film: Kaadu
1977: Best Feature Film in Kannada: Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane
1978: Best Screenplay: Bhumika (with Shyam Benegal and Satyadev Dubey)
1978: Best Feature Film in Kannada: Ondanondu Kaladalli
1989: Best Non-Feature Film: Kanaka Purandara
1990: Best Non-feature Film on Social Issues: The Lamp in the Niche
1992: Best Film on Environment Conservation: Cheluvi
1999: Best Feature Film in Kannada: Kaanuru Heggadathi

Filmfare Awards South

1972: Filmfare Award for Best Director - Kannada – Vamsha Vriksha
1974: Filmfare Award for Best Director - Kannada – Kaadu
1978: Filmfare Award for Best Director - Kannada – Ondanondu Kaladalli
1983: Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Kannada - Ananda Bhairavi

Filmfare Awards Hindi

1980: Filmfare Best Screenplay Award: Godhuli (with B V Karanth)
1980: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award: Aasha: Nominated
1982: Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award: Teri Kasam : Nominated

Karnataka State Film Awards

1971-72 First Best Film – Vamsha Vriksha
1971-72 Best Dialogue Writer – Vamsha Vriksha
1973-74 Second Best Film – Kaadu
1989-90 Best Supporting Actor – Santha Shishunala Sharifa
1995-96 Best Supporting Actor – Sangeetha Sagara Ganayogi Panchakshara Gavai
1999-00 Second Best Film – Kanooru Heggadithi

First Published: Jun 10, 2019 11:03 IST