GIRISH KARNAD 1938

1938

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On May 19, 1938, Girish Karnad was born into a Konkani fam­ily in Matheran, Ma­ha­rash­tra. A bril­liant scholar, Karnad did his early school­ing in Marathi. He went on to grad­u­ate in the Arts form Kar­nataka Univer­sity. Dhar­wad and stud­ies at Oxford Univer­sity as a Rhodes Scholar for his Master of Arts de­gree in Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence, Phi­los­o­phy and Eco­nom­ics. This Ful­bright Scholar is a writer, di­rec­tor, ac­tor, poet and play­wright. His plays writ­ten in Kan­nada have been trans­lated into English and vir­tu­ally every pop­u­lar In­dian lan­guage. Although he fre­quently drafts his sto­ries around his­tor­i­cal and even mytho­log­i­cal is­sues, the prob­lems are con­tem­po­rary, as in his first play Yay­ati (1961) and the later and more pop­u­lar Tugh­laq (1964), a com­ment on the Nehru­vian era. The play was first per­formed by the Na­tional School of Drama. His myth­i­cal plays in­clude Hayayadana and Naga­man­dala also made into a film. Naga­man­dala is based on two Kan­nada folk tales. It has trav­elled the coun­try and the world and the English trans­la­tion pre­miered at the Guthrie Theatre, Min­ne­ap­o­lis. Karnad has about 11 plays to his credit. He has acted, di­rec­tor and done the screen­play in sev­eral films earn­ing sev­eral awards. The first film he directed was Vamsha Vruk­sha, which won sev­eral na­tional and in­ter­na­tional awards. He has acted in and directed films in Kan­nada and Hindi in­clud­ing Ut­sav and God­huli. In 197475, he was the di­rec­tor of the Film and Tele­vi­sion In­sti­tute of In­dia. He has also been the Chair­man of the Sangeet Natak Akademi from 1988 to 1993. Karnad is blessed with a mag­netic voice that he has lent to the chil­dren’s au­dio­books. Karadi Tales and to Dr APJ Ab­dul Kalam’s au­dio­book, Wings of Fire. He has re­ceived the Jnan­pith Award (1998), the Padma Shri (1974) the Padma Bhushan (1992) and other awards for lit­er­a­ture for his plays and films. His film Sam­skara (1970) won the Golden Lo­tus. In his youth, Girish Karnad dreamt of in­ter­na­tional ac­claim for his po­ems in English. The ac­co­lades did come but for fields more di­verse than even a man as cre­ative as him could ever have imag­ined.

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