“Theatre has no substitute”
GIRISH KARNAD IN CONVERSATION WITH GOWRI RAMNARAYAN
Veteran playwright Girish Karnad received the Nataka Choodamani award from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai, on 12 April 2014.
Arguably the best known playwright in contemporary India, actor, director, critic, translator, cultural interventionist Girish Raghunath Karnad rightfully claims to have created a modern theatre for the nation along with giants Dharamvir Bharati, Mohan Rakesh, Badal Sircar and Vijay Tendulkar. Born on 19 May 1938 in Matheran, Maharashtra, in a Saraswat Brahmin family, Karnad did his M.A. in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Dreaming of international fame as a poet in English, Karnad ended up writing in his adopted language Kannada, starting with Yayati (1961), famously drafted on the way to England.
On his return to India, he worked at the Oxford University Press, Madras (1963-70) before turning scriptwriter, actor and director in multiple award-winning landmark films – Samskara (1970), Vamsavruksha (1972), Kaadu (1974), Ondanondu Kaladalli (1978), and the non-feature Kanaka Purandara (1989). Apart from acting in mainstream cinema, Karnad has also played many significant roles in parallel cinema, notably with Shyam Benegal. He is also remembered for his role in the televised version of R.K. Narayan’s Swami and Friends.
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