For the 1980s' kids who tasted TV time with 'Malgudi Days', Girish Karnads portrayal as Swamis stern father, has remained an indelible memory. Equally unfading for many generations are his plays with historical and mythical elements, films reflecting the country's social sentiment, and political activism -- all of which reflected a fearlessness and candour so rare in Indian showbiz. He wore multiple hats as a playwright, screenwriter, director and actor, all so versatile, and his off-screen persona, as the film and theatre fraternity describes, was extremely humble, helpful, caring, encouraging and inspirational. Rich tributes came in from top political leaders, theatre veterans and film celebrities across the nation on Monday as Karnad breathed his last in Bengaluru.
The veteran artist is survived by his widow Saraswathy Ganapathy, his son Raghu Amay and daughter Shalmali Radha.
As per Karnad's last wishes, his mortal remains were cremated at a local crematorium "quietly" in the presence of his family members, close relatives and a few friends. No rituals were conducted or customs observed.
The body was taken in an ambulance to Kalapalli electric crematorium in the city's eastern suburb, with his bereaved family, relatives and friends following it in a convoy without fanfare, police security or escort.
"Though the Karnataka government decided to conduct Karnad's last rites with state honours, we have decided to respect his wishes and allowed his family to do it accordingly," an official told IANS.
When hundreds turned up at Karnad's house to pay homage, the family requested them to pay their last respects to him at the crematorium and declined to keep his body for public viewing outside.
According to a family source, Karnad succumbed to multi-organ failure at his residence on Lavelle Road, the city's upscale locality near Cubbon Park.
The state government declared a day's holiday on Monday as a mark of respect to Karnad and three-day mourning will be observed across the state till June 12. Karnad also held important positions in top institutes. He served as director of the state-run Film and Television Institute of India (1974-1975) at Pune and was Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi and National Academy of the Performing Arts (1988-93).
Pictured: Girish Karnad's son Raghu Karnad and wife Saraswathy Ganapathy.
Beyond the world of showbiz, Karnad was also unafraid of expressing his views on the country's social and political state. In a latest stroke at political activism, Karnad was among over 200 writers and artistes who had appealed to citizens to vote against hate politics and for an equal and diverse India, right before the Lok Sabha elections this year.
He had also worn a placard that read 'Me too Urban Naxal' at an event marking the first death anniversary of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh. "The scheduled state Cabinet expansion on Wednesday has also been postponed to June 14 due to the mourning period," said the official in the chief minister's office.
He will be truly missed!
Girish Karnad, a Jnanpith winner, multi-lingual scholar, master playwright, screenwriter, actor, director and a colossus in India's cultural landscape, passed away at his residence in Bengaluru on Monday, an official said. He was 81. His last rites took place in the afternoon. (Pictures/Pallav Paliwal)
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