Jnanapeeth Award Winner Shri Girish Karnad

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Jnanapeeth Award Winner Shri Girish Karnad Empty Jnanapeeth Award Winner Shri Girish Karnad

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Jnanapeeth Award Winner Shri Girish Karnad Girish10
Girish Raghunath Karnad (Kannada:ಗಿರೀಶ್ ಕಾರ್ನಾಡ್) (born 19 May 1938), is a contemporary writer, playwright, actor and movie director in Kannada language. He is the latest one among seven recipients[1] of Jnanpith Award for Kannada the highest literary honour conferred in India. For four decades, Karnad has been composing plays, often using history and mythology to tackle contemporary issues. He is also active in the world of Indian cinema working as an actor, director and Screenwriter earning numerous awards along the way. He was conferred Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by Government of India.

Early life

Girish Karnad was born in Matheran, Maharashtra in a Konkani speaking family. His initial schooling was in Marathi. As a youngster Karnad was an ardent admirer of Yakshagana and the theater in his village.[2] He earned his Bachelors of Arts degree from Karnataka University, Dharwad in 1958. Upon graduation Karnad went to England and studied at Lincoln and Magdalen colleges in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, earning his Master of Arts degree in philosophy, political science and economics. Karnad was a Visiting Professor and Fulbright Scholar in Residence at the University of Chicago.

Career life


Karnad is most famous as a playwright. His plays, written in Kannada, have been widely translated into English and all major Indian languages. One interesting aspect about Karnad is that, his plays are written neither in English in which he dreamed of earning international literary fame, nor in his mother tongue Konkani. Instead, they are composed in his adopted language Kannada. When Karnad started writing plays, Kannada literature was highly influenced by renaissance in Western literature. Writers would chose a subject which looked entirely alien to manifestation of native soil. In a situation like that Karnad found a new approach like drawing historical and mythological sources to tackle contemporary themes. His first play "Yayati"(1961), ridicules the ironies of life through characters in Mahabharata and became an instant success, immediately translated and staged in several other Indian languages. "Tughlaq"(1964), his best loved play, established Karnad as one of the most promising playwrights in the country.


His directorial debut came with the movie "VamshaVruksha", based on a Kannada novel by S.L. Bhairappa. The movie went on to win several national and international awards. Before that Karnad had acted in a movie called "Samskara" which is based on a novel by U.R. Ananthamurthy directed by Pattabhirama Reddy. That movie bagged the first President's Golden Lotus Award for Kannada cinema. Later, Karnad directed several movies in Kannada and Hindi. Some of his famous Kannada movies include "Tabbaliyu neenade magane", "Ondanondu Kaaladalli", "Cheluvi" and "Kadu". Hindi movies directed by him include "Utsav" and "Godhuli". A recently acclaimed movie by Karnad is "Kanooru Heggaditi", based on a novel by Kannada writer Kuvempu. Apart from directing and screenwriting all the above movies, Karnad has also acted in several other movies and received critical acclamation.

He has been criticised by the eminent Kannada novelist S.L. Bhairappa for being untrue to history in order to curry favor with the establishment.

Other notable works

He has played the role of Karadi, the sootradhar (narrator), for several stories in the popular audiobook series for kids "Karadi Tales". He has also been the voice of APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India, in the audiobook of Kalam's autobiography by Charkha Audiobooks "Wings of Fire".

Further reading

* Jaydipsinh Dodiya, Plays of Girish Karnad

Awards and Honors

For literature

* Sangeet Natak Akademi award - 1972
* Padma Shri - 1974
* Padma Bhushan - 1992
* Kannada Sahitya Academy award - 1992
* Sahitya Academy award - 1994
* Jnanpith Award - 1998
* Rajyotsava Award

For movies

* President's Golden Lotus for the Best Indian film for "Samskara" - 1970
* National Award for Excellence in Direction for "VamshaVruksha"(Shared with B.V. Karanth) - 1972
* National Award for the Best Script for "Bhumika" - 1978
* Golden Lotus for the Best Non-Feature Film for "Kanaka Purandara" - 1989
* Karnataka State Award for the Best Supporting Actor in "Santa Shishunala Shareef" - 1991
* FilmFare Award for Best Script for Godhuli(shared with B.V. Karanth) - 1979
* Mysore State Award for Best Kannada film and the Best Direction for VamshaVruksha - 1972
* Gubbi Veeranna Award
* Filmfare Nominations as Best Supporting Actor for Aasha (1980) and Teri Kasam (1982)

And many more. He has also served as the Director of the Film and Television Institute of India from 1974 to 1975, TheIndian Co-Chairman for the Joint Media Committee of the Indo-US sub-Commission on Education and Culture from 1984 to 1993, and Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Academy from 1988 to 1993, President of Karnataka Nataka Academy from 1976 to 1978.



* Tughlaq
* Hayavadana
* Nagamandala
* Bali
* Agni mattu Male (The Fire and the Rain)
* Odakalu Bimba
* Yayaathi
* Anjumallige
* Maa Nishaadha
* Tippuvina Kanasugalu (The Dreams of Tipu Sultan)
* Taledanda
* Hittina Hunja

Karnad's works in visual media


* Iqbal (2005)
* Dor (2006)
* Manthan
* Nagamandala
* Agni mattu Male made into a Hindi movie titled "Agnivarsha"
* Umbartha (Marathi- with Smita Patil)
* Kadhalan
* Minsaara Kanavu
* Aa dinagalu

Movies Directed by Girish Karnad

* Utsav in Hindi
* Samskara in Kannada . He got a National Award for best direction.
* Ondanaondu Kaaladalli in Kannada
* Anand Bhairavi in both Kannada and Telugu
* Kanooru Heggadathi in Kannada


* All of his plays have been staged and performed in almost all languages of India.


1. ^ Jnanapeeth Awards. Ekavi. Retrieved on 2006-10-31.
2. ^ Conversation with Girish Karnad. Bhargavi Rao on Muse India. Muse India. Retrieved on 2007-07-11.


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