Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he was "saddened by the demise" of Girish Karnad, a veteran actor, playwright and filmmaker.
Girish Karnad died this morning at a hospital in Bengaluru after a long illness. He was 81.
Known for his activism and his fearless political voice, he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1974 and the Padma Bhushan in 1992. He was also awarded with Jnanpith, the highest Indian literary award, in 1998 for his contribution towards literature.
In his tribute, PM Modi wrote, that the actor-playwright spoke on the "causes dear to him". "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," PM 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.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 10, 2019
President Ram Nath Kovind also tweeted his condolences.
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 #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) June 10, 2019
Born in Mumbai (then Bombay Presidency) on May 19, 1938, Girish Karnad wrote his first play, "Yayati", at the University of Oxford. He became a renowned face in the country after essaying the role of Swami's father in Malgudi Days, the TV series based on short stories by RK Naryanan.
Political leaders across the country paid tributes to the playwright.
"Deeply saddened by the demise one of our greatest playwrights & theatre artists, Shri #GirishKarnad. He was among the eight crown jewels of Kannada art & literature world to be conferred with Jnanpith Award. He & his works will be cherished for long. Om shanti," Karnataka's Deputy Chief Minsiter Dr. G Parameshwara.
Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor tweeted his tributes and wrote "a flame has been extinguished that lit up so many minds". "This is a devastating loss. Just a few months ago he sent me the draft of his brilliant new historical play. He was at the peak of his creative talent. Profound condolences to his devoted wife Saras & brilliant son @rkarnad," he also wrote.
Among other leaders who paid their tributes on Twitter were Delhi Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala and actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan.
Litterateur par-excellence, actor, director, playwright and activist- the passing away of Girish Karnad shall leave an irreplaceable void in the Indian creative arena.— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) June 10, 2019
My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans.
May his soul rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/sbXi0sCH4A
Sad news coming in the morning about the passing away of veteran noted actor and playwright Girish Karnad. Girish ji's views and artistic contribution will be missed by the country.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 10, 2019
Mr.Girish Karnad, His scripts both awe and inspire me. He has left behind many inspired fans who are writers. Their works perhaps will make his loss partly bearable.— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) June 10, 2019
The state government in Karnataka has declared a day of mourning.
While Girish Karnad started off his career in cinema as an actor, he is best known as a writer and thinker. Many of his plays stirred debate but he never backed down from expressing his views.
In April, he was among some 200 writers from across the country who put out an open letter against the "politics of hate". In September last year, he was charged for holding a placard that read "Me Too Urban Naxal" at an event to mark one year of journalist Gauri Lankesh's murder. He had protested against the house arrest of five activists who were accused of links with Maoists.
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