Iconic playwright, actor and movie director, Girish Karnad, passed away on Monday morning, aged 81, at his downtown Lavelle Road residence here.
Family sources said Karnad had been ailing for the past year and was supported with artificial respiration for the last one month.
The end came at 0830 hrs.
Often drawing from historical and mythological sources to address issues in contemporary society, Karnad was a household name in the world of theatre and his best loved play ‘Tughlaq’, was translated in multiple languages, including English.
Awarded the Padma Shri in 1974 and the Padma Bhushan in 1992, the gifted litterateur in 1998 was conferred the Jnanpith award, the highest literary award of the nation.
Amid a stream of condolences, the Karnataka Government declared holiday on Monday and a three-day mourning in honour of the writer-actor. According to official sources, all the state government offices, schools and colleges were shut down for the day in Karnad's memory.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy deferred his crucial cabinet expansion, scheduled for Wednesday.
Karnad's mortal remains was confined to flames at a cremation ceremony, attended by close family members and friends, here this afternoon. The family had politely rejected the offer by the state government to conduct the last rites of the great writer, with state honour, earlier.
Karnad left behind a son, daughter and wife, Dr Saraswathi.
Last journey As per the family wishes, the body was carried to Kallahalli crematorium in the city. The lone political leader who visited the place was Minister D K Shivakumar.
Honouring the last wishes of Karnad, there was no procession or visits by VIPs during the last rites.The press and visual media were also not allowed to cover the event.
Bengaluru central DCP Devaraja D said a few police officers were stationed at Karnad’s home and shooed away all visitors on the request of the family. His other memorable plays were Anjuvadana, Agni, Hittina Hunja, Male and worked as a bridge between the cinema as well as the theatre world.
Karnad also acted in numerous films, including 'Samskara', 'Vamsha Vriksha', 'Kaanuru Heggaditi', 'Anveshane' (All Kannada), 'Nishanth' (Hindi) and recent, 'Tiger Zinda Hai,' featuring Salman Khan.
President Ram Nath Kovind, said on micro-blogging site Twitter,''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''.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted,'' 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.''
Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were among the multitudes who mourned the death of Karnad.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Shashi Tharoor MP condoled the demise. Making of a playwright
Karnad, born on May 18, 1938, in Mumbai had attended school in Dharwad and finished his college studies in this North Karnataka city. He was also a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University, in the 1960s that earned him his Master of Arts degree in philosophy, political science and economics. After working with the Oxford University Press, Chennai between 1963 and 1970, he resigned to take to full-time writing. In Chennai, he was involved with local amateur theater group -- The Madras Players.
Coming to prominence when he penned Tughlaq and Yayati, Karnad went on to script Hayavadana, Nagamandala and many other plays.
He also had a memorable stint in Kannada and Hindi cinema when he acted in award winning ‘Samskara’ (1970) art film, which fetched him a national award, and ‘Shishunala Shariff. He also became famous through his character acting on the small screen and most prominent among them was in ‘Malgudi Days’, written by legendary Indian English writer R K Narayan and directed by famous late Kannada actor Shankar Nag. Karnad acted as the father of protagonist boy Swamy in this enchanting collection of short stories written by Narayan in the television adaptation. Samskara won the first President's Golden Lotus Award for Kannada cinema.
He also acted in other art films and later also starred as a supporting actor in many films in Kannada and Hindi and many other Indian languages. The Kannada proponent, being a leftist thinking social leader, was often heard for his anti-Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party stance and protested against what he called religious fundamentalism.
In Panaji, Goa Chief Minister, his cabinet colleagues and other leaders in the state expressed grief over the demise.
Former Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said,''Deeply saddened by sad demise of Padma Bhushan Girish Karnadji. His love for Goa, Konkani & his contribution for Golden Jubilee Development Council during my tenure as CM of Goa will always be remembered. My condolences to his family & followers.''
Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao on Monday in a condolence message said, "A brilliant playwright, actor, director and great thinker, Girish Karnad was a versatile genius. He created his distinct imprint in every field that he chose to work. His long and illustrious association with theatre is a testimony of his genius."
"Karnad never shied away from expressing himself on important issues concerning society. His demise is an irreparable loss to the theatre movement in the country," he mourned. B-town grieved
B-Town also mourned the death.
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Anupam Kher said,''Deeply saddened to know about the sad demise of Sh. #GirishKarnad ji. He was a great artist, scholar and a brilliant playwright. My first small appearance in the film Utsav was under his direction. Also acted in both #Tuglaq and #Hayavadan - plays written by him. On Shanti.''
Former President Pranab Mukherjee and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar also condoled the death.Mr Mukherjee said,''Deeply saddened at the demise of Shri #GirishKarnad.
His passing away is a colossal loss for Indian Cinema & literature. Was honoured to have conferred the Amar Ujala Lifetime Achievement Award recently on him, which was received by his son Raghu on his behalf.''