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Intellectual giant Girish Karnad remembered

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai/New Delhi 

Political leaders, theatre personalities, artistes and film personalities on Monday remembered Girish Karnad as a brilliant playwright-actor-director who left an indelible mark in art and cinema.

Karnad, 81, died on Monday after prolonged illness at his Bengaluru residence. He was a progressive voice that championed freedom of expression. In his over five-decade-long career, the actor has worked in films in languages- Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and Marathi.

President Ram Nath Kovind called Karnad's death an irreparable loss to the world of Indian theatre.

"Sad to hear of the passing of Girish Karnad, writer, actor and doyen of Indian theatre. Our cultural world is poorer today. My condolences to his family and to the many who followed his work #PresidentKovind," the tweet by the president read.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Karnad for speaking up about causes dear to the actor-director.

"Girish Karnad will be remembered for his versatile acting across all mediums. He also spoke passionately on causes dear to him. His works will continue being popular in the years to come. Saddened by his demise. May his soul rest in peace," the tweet by the PM read.

South star-turned-politician Kamal Haasan lauded the rich legacy of the veteran writer and director.

"Mr Girish Karnad, His scripts both awe and inspire me. He has left behind many inspired fans who are writers. Their works perhaps will make his loss partly bearable," Haasan tweeted.

Chandrashekhar Kambar, president, Sahitya Akademi said he lost a "very intimate friend" in Karnad.

"He was my colleague. We wrote plays in a very competent manner. He came all the way from Bombay and acted in my play 'Jokumaraswamy'. When he got the Jnanpith Award I celebrated, when I got one he celebrated. I'm very sad," Kambar told PTI.

Feisal Alkazi, son of celebrated theatre personality Ebrahim Alkazi, who directed Karnad's most famous play "Tughlaq", remembered the actor as a close family friend.

"He was fabulous, a great talent in many spheres. In writing, acting, as a thinker. As a person he was very concerned with the society and politics. He led protests after Gauri Lankesh's murder.

"He had a big influence on many things and with his own writing. It is a very early death, but he outlived all his contemporaries Mohan Rakesh, Vijay Tendulkar and Badal Sarkar," Feisal Alkazi told PTI.

Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar paid homage to Karnad.

"I received the sad of the demise of talented actor, director, writer Girish Karnad ji. I pay my condolences on his death. May his soul rest in peace," Mangeshkar tweeted.

Celebrated filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who directed Karnad in critically-acclaimed films "Manthan" and "Nishant", said he was heartbroken and was planning to fly to Bengaluru to pay his last respects to his longtime collaborator and friend.

"I'm completely distraught. I'm not in a condition to speak," Benegal told PTI.

Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah remembered Karnad for being a major driving force in getting him his break in cinema with Benegal's "Nishant".

"I owe him a huge debt of gratitude, not only for writing some of the finest Indian plays but also for having enough faith in me to suggest my name to Shyam Benegal. An intellectual giant and compassionate person, he will be missed in very many ways by very many people," Shah told PTI.

Karnad's another "Nishant" co-star Shabana Azmi tweeted, "Deeply saddened to learn about Girish Karnad. Haven't yet been able to speak with his family. It's been a friendship of 43 years and I need the privacy to mourn him."

Director Deepa Mehta said she was extremely saddened by the of her fellow filmmaker's death.

"What a master of his craft. From 'Nagmandala' to enacting Swami. What a huge loss," she wrote.

Actor Anil Kapoor, who collaborated with Karnad on "Pukar" called him a "great man and playwright".

"I met Girish Karnad way back when he was the principal of the film institute & then worked with him in 'Pukar'... His stories will forever remain in our hearts and minds. Sending my prayers and heartfelt condolences to his family," he tweeted.

Karnad's last commercial film appearance was "Tiger Zinda Hai", in which he reprised his role from 2012's "Ek Tha Tiger" as RAW chief Shenoy.

Ali Abbas Zafar, who helmed the 2017 movie, starring Salman Khan in the lead, tweeted, "Rest in peace sir #GirishKarnad, man with a golden heart and fountain of knowledge. RIP."


Nandita Das wrote on the microblogging site,"Indeed, very sad A great loss to the arts, to the diminishing public discourse."

Choreographer-actor Prabhu Dheva recalled working with Karnad in his 1984 film "Kadhlan", directed by S Shankar.

"He was such a nice person, intelligent and incredibly humble. He was so talented, (he was) the smartest. I still remember shooting the film with him. He always surprised me with his humility," Prabhu Dheva told PTI.

Writer-lyricist Varun Grover said the demise of Karnad is the disappearance of an entire university.

"We are lucky to still have access to the library of this university in our hands and minds. Thank you Gurudev," Grover tweeted.

Celebrated author Amitav Ghosh said the country has lost an important voice.

"Saddened to hear of the passing of Girish Karnad - a great writer and a very important public voice. Thoughts are with @rkarnad and his family," he tweeted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 10 2019. 14:10 IST
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