24 October 2006

Girish Karnad

Here's something about one of my favourite theater actors...Girish Karnad.

One of India’s foremost modern playwrights, Girish Karnad has artfully juggled many roles. A noted actor, filmmaker and critic, he has also served as Director of the Film and Television Institute, Pune, (Fulbright Playwright-in Residence and Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago (1987-88), Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Academy (1988-93) and Director of the Nehru Centre at the Indian High Commission in London.

Having earned his B.A in mathematics and statistics, at Karnatak University, Dharwad, Karnad, joined the Magdalen College, Oxford, as a Rhodes scholar. After his return to India, he joined the Oxford University Press, but resigned, to devote himself to writing and filmmaking.

Yayati, Karnad's first play, (1961) won the Mysore State Award in 1962. But it was his second play, Tughlaq (1966) that won him critical acclaim and established him as a writer of repute. Considered an allegory on the Nehruvian era, the play, records the personal transformation of the medieval ruler Mohammad Bin Tughlaq from a sensitive idealist to a tyrant.

Rooted in Indian mythology, history and traditional puranic themes, Karnad’s plays mirror contemporary socio-political realities and modern man’s existentialist crises. In his 1972 play, Hayavadana, for example, the playwright used the folk art form of yakshagana to examine the divide between mind and body. Two plays, Naga-Mandala and Taledanda, followed soon after, and Karnad was conferred a series of eminent awards including the Sahitya Akademi Award, in 1994. Written in his adopted language, Kannada, Karnad has himself translated his works (except Anjumallige and Hittina hunja) into English. His other prominent plays are Anjumallige (1977), Hittina hunja (1980 ), Agni Mattu Male (‘Fire and the Rain’ commissioned by Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis), Dreams of Tipu Sultan (radio-play commissioned by BBC in 1996) and Bali, the Sacrifice (.commissioned by the Leicester Haymarket Theatre).

Karnad’s very first film Samskara, which he scripted and acted in, won the President’s Gold Medal in the Best Indian Film category in 1970. He has also scripted and directed films like Vamsha Vriksha (Kannada), Kaadu (Kannada), Godhuli (Hindi), Ondanondu Kaaladalli (Kannada), Utsav (Hindi) and Cheluvi (Kannada). A versatile actor he has essayed roles in films like Vamsha Vriksha (1971), Manthan (Hindi; 1976), Cheluvi (1992) and more recently Iqbal (Hindi; 2005). His vast repertoire also includes directing documentary films like ‘The Lamp in the Niche’(1989), ‘D.R Bendre’(1973), television programmes like ‘Who Ghar’(1984) and anchoring the series ‘Turning Point’

Karnard has been decorated with the Padma Shri (1974), the Padma Bhushan (1992) Jnapith Award (1999) and made Doctor of Letters by Karnatak University in 1994.

13 comments:

Badur Babu said...

Not many people have a write up on Girish Karnad. It was interesting reading it. Regards-Bijit

Badur Babu said...

Any idea how I can add you in my team member list ?

Jay said...

I would love to watch the show "Turning Point" again, I never missed any of its episodes... Doordarshan at its BEST!

Anonymous said...

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Christian, iwspo.net

dur khaima said...

we are staging his "Tughlaq" http://www.naatak.com

Soma Bhattacharya said...

Thanks Christian for your feedback.

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Soma said...

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