- Shabana Azmi was Girish Karnad's co-star in many acclaimed films
- They worked together in films like Nishaant and Swami
- Girish Karnad, who had been ill for some years, died in Bengaluru today
In the wake of grief left by the death of screen and theatre legend Girish Karnad today, actress Shabana Azmi pleaded in a tweet for 'privacy to mourn' her co-star of several films and friend of 43 years. Girish Karnad, who changed the cultural landscape with plays such as Hayavadana and Tughlaq, was also an actor of versatility and repute. He appeared in several films during the late Seventies-Eighties which also starred the leading lights of what was then known as parallel cinema. Shabana Azmi was Mr Karnad's co-star in many acclaimed films. Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher and other actors who co-starred with Girish Karnad or appeared in his plays also posted tributes.
In a tweet, Shabana Azmi wrote: "Deeply saddened to learn about Girish Karnad. Haven't yet been able to speak with his family. It's been a friendship of 43 years and I need the privacy to mourn him. I request the media to kindly excuse me from giving quotes."
Deeply saddened to learn about #Girish Karnad. Havent yet been able to speak with his family. Its been a friendship of 43 years and I need the privacy to mourn him. I request the media to kindly excuse me from giving quotes. pic.twitter.com/XMTxTmHXIw— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) June 10, 2019
Girish Karnad and Shabana Azmi co-starred in two seminal films of the Seventies' arthouse cinema movement. Shyam Benegal's 1975 tour de force Nishaant featured an ensemble cast of actors who would become legends in their own right, including Naseeruddin Shah, Smita Patil, Anant Nag and Amrish Puri. Girish Karnad and Shabana Azmi were cast as a village school teacher and his wife who is abducted by the local zamindar's brothers with tragic consequences. Basu Chatterjee's 1977 film Swami starred Girish Karnad as the patient husband of Shabana Azmi's character, a livewire and ambitious village woman who is forced into a marriage she doesn't want.
Girish Karnad and Shabana Azmi also appeared with Amol Palekar in Basu Chatterjee's Apne Paraye (1980); later they were cast in 1991's Antarnaad, directed by Shyam Benegal, and 2016's Chalk n' Duster.
Anil Kapoor recalled his first encounter with Girish Karnad when the playwright was director of the Film and Television Institute of India or FTII in Pune. They later co-starred in 2000 film Pukar - Anil Kapoor as an army officer fallen from grace and Girish Karnad as his father.
I met Girish Karnad way back when he was the principal of the film institute & then worked with him in Pukar. He was a great man & playwright. His stories will forever remain in our hearts & minds. Sending my prayers & heartfelt condolences to his family. https://t.co/X7W6hF4A5t— Anil Kapoor (@AnilKapoor) June 10, 2019
Anupam Kher, who had a minor role in the Girish Karnad-directed film Utsav, remembered him as a 'great artist, scholar and a brilliant playwright." Utsav, in which Mr Kher played a friend of Shashi Kapoor's character Samsthanak, released in 1984, the same year in which Anupam Kher's breakout film Saaransh won him the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Mr Kher revealed in his tweet that he also appeared in Mr Karnad's plays Tughlaq and Hayavadana.
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 pic.twitter.com/NiByXxJiSe— Anupam Kher (@AnupamPKher) June 10, 2019
Kabir Bedi, who played the lead in the Alyque Padamsee-directed Tughlaq, tweeted:
Deeply saddened by the passing of playwright Girish Karnad. My biggest break in theatre was playing the title role in his "Tughlaq", directed by Alyque Padamsee, which led me into the film industry in 1970s. One of India's great playwrights, immortalised by his creativity. RIP. https://t.co/GOEw42PXPW— KABIR BEDI (@iKabirBedi) June 10, 2019
"My heart aches," tweeted Pooja Hegde, whose debut film, the Tamil language Mugamoodi, co-starred Girish Karnad.
Girish Karnad, who had been ill for some years, died at home in Bengaluru. He is survived by his wife and son Raghu. The family have refused a state funeral; Karnataka has declared a three-day mourning.