Tributes to Karnad compiled in book

Bahuroopi Girish Karnad contains articles by writers and artists from across India

Girish Karnad passed away last month.

Distinguished writers from all over India wrote tributes to the well-known playwright Girish Karnad (1938-2019) after his passing last month. A Bengaluru publisher has brought them all together in Kannada translation, edited by well-known writer Jogi.

Called Bahuroopi Girish Karnad, the book contains 37 articles by the who’s who of Indian arts and literature. A short note by Raghu Karnad, his son, opens the 194-page book. Raghu says the family remembers him with gratitude in six languages.

Shabana Azmi, who acted with Girish Karnad in some films, says Karnad was hugely talented, but didn’t think much of his acting. He often wondered if it would dent his reputation as a playwright.

Rajendra Chenni, who knew him from his early Dharwad days, says he looked like a glamorous careerist in his early days, and his voice as a dissident intellectual came across loud and clear much later.

T M Krishna praises Karnad’s ability to turn everything around him into creative raw material. For Ramachandra Guha, Karnad was the tallest Kannadiga of our times. Capt G R Gopinath, who founded a budget airline, says Karnad wanted to tell his aviation story on the big screen.

Nagabharana calls Karnad a ‘rare guru’, Some accounts, such as those by K M Chaitanya, describe his more informal side. Karnad once took along garlic tambuli (curd dish) when he was visiting the Chaitanya’s father K M Marulasiddappa. Chaitanya, who became a filmmaker under Karnad’s mentorship, says he quoted as easily from the Gita and the Upanishads and the Sanskrit classics as he could from Shakespeare and Eliot. Theatre director Prasanna recalls his association with Karnad from the 1970s, when Kannada theatre made a big impact on the national scene.

The tributes originally written in English read well in Kannada translation, and the production is neat and tasteful. The book is published by Bahuroopi (bahuroopi.in) and is priced at Rs 250. 

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