Veteran actor, director, playwright and Kannada writer Girish Raghunath Karnad passed away on Monday morning at a hospital in Bengaluru. He was 81 years old.

Girish Karnad was a Rhodes scholar who predominantly worked in the South Indian film industry and Bollywood. He is also credited for bringing in the age of modern Indian playwrighting in Kannada, just as Badal Sarkar did in Bengali, Vijay Tendulkar in Marathi and Mohan Rakesh in Hindi.

Having brought about a Renaissance in Indian theatre, the veteran actor also acted in parallel cinema, in notable works like Manthan( 1976), Samskara( 1970) to commercial blockbusters like Ek Tha Tiger( 2012).

He is a recipient of the 1998 Jnanpith Award, the highest literary honour conferred in India.

Karnad was also a prolific writer, his work has been translated into English and other Indian languages and directed by directors like Ebrahim Alkazi, BV Karanth, Alyque Padamsee, Prasanna, Arvind Gaur, Satyadev Dubey among others.

He also was conferred Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Indian government and won 4 Filmfare awards, of which three are for Filmfare Award for Best Director – Kannada and the fourth a Filmfare Best Screenplay Award.

Many notable writers, celebrities and personalities have taken to Twitter to express condolence at the news.

PM Narendra Modi wrote: ” 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.”


Amitav Ghosh wrote: “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.”


Former CM of Karnataka Sadananda Gowda tweeted, in Kannada: “The news of the death of Gyanapitha awardee, senior theatre artist Dr Girish Karnad, was revealed. His contribution to the Saraswat world is vast. Let us pray in the Lord that peace be to the soul.”


Shruti Haasan wrote, “May you rest in peace Girish Karnad sir. Your talent humour and sharp intellect will be missed.”

The passing away of veteran actor and theatre personality Sh. #GirishKarnad is a very sad news. My heartfelt condolences to his family members​. May his soul rest in peace.

— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) June 10, 2019