Noted playwright, actor and Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad dies at 81



He succumbed to multiple-organ failure at his residence in Bengaluru.

Girish Karnad (81), well-known writer, playwright and actor, passed away early on Monday morning in Bengaluru.

The Jnanpith awardee succumbed to multiple-organ failure at his residence on Lavelle Road in the city, according to sources.

Born in May, 1938, he was one of the most prominent theatre personalities of the 60s and 70s, a period regarded as Renaissance of Indian theatre. He worked with mythology and history and gave them a contemporary resonance in plays such as Tughlaq and Hayavadana. His latest play was Rakshasa Tangadi, published last year.

He was also a film and theatre director and actor. He made a name not only in parallel cinema but also in mainstream films in multiple languages. He acted in films like Manthan and Samskara, and directed Utsav and Kaadu.

A highly regarded public intellectual, he often became the target of the Hindutva right, for instance for his views on Mysuru king Tipu Sultan. He was believed to be on the hitlist of the gang that killed Gauri Lankesh and was given security by the State police in the aftermath of her murder.

Holiday declared

The Karnataka Government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges and three-day State mourning in honour of the writer who brought the 7th Jnanpith to Kannada.

His last rites will be held at Kalpalli crematorium in Bengaluru. People can pay their respects at the crematorium, said his son Raghu Karnad.