In 1998, he was conferred Jnanapith Award, the highest literary honour conferred in India for his contributions to literature and theatre. Mr Karnad also directed films such as Vamsha Vriksha and Utsav. His plays which were in Kannada were adapted in several languages by legendary theatre personalities namely Ebrahim Alkazi, B V Karanth, Alyque Padamsee, Prasanna, Arvind Gaur, Satyadev Dubey, Vijaya Mehta, Shyamanand Jalan, Amal Allana and Zafer Mohiuddin.
Noted playwright, actor and director Girish Karnad, a progressive voice that championed the freedom of expression, died at his residence here on Monday, official sources said.
Born in May 1938, Karnad studied at Karnataka University and then went to the Oxford University to study philosophy, politics and economics as a Rhodes Scholar. The litterateur was conferred the Jnanpith award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. For four decades, he composed plays using history and mythology to tackle contemporary issues.
Known as one of the most famous modern Indian playwrights - Karnad wrote in Kannada and also in English - and his important works include Yayati in 1961, Hayavadana in 1972, Tughlaq in 1964 and Nagamandala in 1988.
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A Rhodes scholar, Mr Karnad debuted in films in 1970 and acted in almost a 100 movies since then.
Actors Siddharth, R Madhavan and Farhan Akhtar also posted messages. Karnad's other well-known films in Kannada include Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane (1977) and Ondanondu Kaaladalli (1978). He also hosted a show - Science Magazine on Doordarshan. "On the one-year anniversary of the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, he attended an event with a placard around his neck that read, "#MeTooUrbanNaxal". He graduated in mathematics in Karnatak College in 1958.
He is survived by his wife Saraswathi and son Raghu Karnad.