Girish Karnad, noted Kannada playwright and actor passed away. He was aged 81. Reports suggest he died of multi-organ failure after remaining ill for a long time.
Karnad is a recipient of the 1998 Jnanpith Award, the highest literary honour conferred in India.
Karnad was born in Matheran, in present-day Maharashtra, in 1938. His career spanned decades, during which he composed many plays, often using mythology and history to highlight contemporary issues. He began his cinema career in 1970 with Samskara, and went on to act in the classic television show Malgudi Days.
He was conferred Padma Shri in 1974 and Padma Bhushan in 1992 by the Indian government for his contributions in the field of arts. He was the recipient of the Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary prize, in 1999 for his contributions to literature and theatre.
Karnad was a crusader for freedom of speech. After Gauri Lankesh's death he got into trouble when he sported a placard around his neck that read #MeTooUrbanNaxal. He also took part in protests against the murder of academic MM Kalburgi.He again created controversy when he said Rabindranath Tagore was a 'second rate playright' and his plays were 'unbearable'.
He was last seen in Bollywood in Salman Khan starrer Tiger Zinda Hai as Dr. Shenoy, RAW Chief. He appeared in a Kannada Film Neenillada Male in 2018.
He was survived by his wife Saraswathi, son Raghu Karnad, a journalist and writer and daughter Radha, a doctor based in Kenya.
Karnad's family reportedly said that no official ceremony will take place for his cremation. The late actor will be cremated in electronic crematorium.