Condoling Karnad's death: ‘World will be a smaller place...’

Playwright-actor-director Girish Karnad’s death has left a void in Bengaluru’s  theatre scene as well as hearts of his friends and fans; some eminent  artistes from the city speak to CE to pay their t

Published: 11th June 2019 06:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th June 2019 03:58 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Jacob Verghese, film director

When I wrote Savari 2, the only person I had in mind for the character of a journalist who was a crook by situation, was Girish Karnad. The character had all the opposite traits of the real Karnad. Usually, he was cast in stereotypical characters. For this character, we made him drink at a local bar and smoke weed. Once on the sets, he was just an actor minus his great persona, which made the team and other actors –Kitty and Karan Rao –comfortable.

There was a scene that required a rowdy to catch his collar and slap him. The person who was to play the rowdy was unable to perform the scene out of reverence, and then Karnad put him at ease and we canned the shot. He was, a class apart, and held himself with a lot of dignity. We have lost a forward thinker and literary giant. RIP Karnad, will miss you. 

A still from the movie, Kanooru
Heggadithi, directed by Girish

 Padmavati Rao, actor

I entered Bengaluru on Monday afternoon, and the traffic would not let me reach to see him one last time. So I guess, I will stay with the last memory of my last meeting with him -- when I read to him my translation of his newest play. He asked me to stay longer and I lingered. We knew this could be the last time we were meeting, though we said nothing about it. He and Shankar will party together if such a thing is possible. As for me, I have even more reason to look up at the night sky, fondly watching the dear stars that continue to shine.

Prasad Bidapa, fashion personality

The world will be a smaller place with the loss of this towering personality. A fine actor as well, Girish was a legend in theatre and film circles, and many of his plays were made into films. I met him infrequently, but always came away with increased respect for his uncompromising attitude and great sense of humour. He was a storyteller par excellence, and the characters he created always had the human touch, making them compelling, realistic and believable. We will miss you, Girish. 

T S Nagabharana, theatre and film personality

Having gone through almost every line ever written by Girish Karnad, as I have translated his plays, I can say Girish Karnad took Kannada literature to great heights. In his plays like Yayati, Tughlaq and Hayavadana, his writings were beyond his experience. I always wondered how he did this, and discovered he was a voracious reader and a persistent thinker. The way he looked at each character, every element in his play, looked unusual. For me, he was a fantastic mentor. I was in Delhi when his play, Tughlaq, was staged in front of Red Fort. The speeches for which he got into controversies are things we should understand and accept. His reaction was always very straightforward. 

Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar film personality

He started his cinema career with Kaadina Benki and Prathama Usha Kirana, for which I had written the screenplay, songs and dialogues. Both films won the National Award. A lot of his Indian content was presented with Western technicalities.One of his great achievements in Bengaluru was joining hands with Arundhati Nag to build play Ranga Shankara. Even today, the announcement made there is in his voice.

He started Sahithya Sambrama in Dharwad, a literary convention, where I met him last January. He was straightforward and someone who questioned and protested. He never cared about the government and society.I had a bitter experience over a book, Shatamanada Anchinalli, which involved exchange of harsh words. I was the editor of the book, and he had written an article, which I edited. Forgetting all about it, he invited me to recite a short story. I liked debating with him. I pay my final salute to him.

Abhishek Iyengarco-founder, WeMove Theatre

Each time we watch a play at Ranga Shankara, we hear a pre-recorded announcement in Girish Karnad’s voice, asking everyone to turn off their mobile phones. It haunts me that that voice is no more. He put Kannada literature on the global map and nobody can fill the void he has left behind. 

Dipankar Panth, creative director, Shoonya, Centre for Art and Somatic Practices

I  never had the opportunity to interact much with Mr Karnad. My only firsthand memory of him is seeing him at Shoonya once and being overjoyed he visited. It was a great and exciting experience to have someone like him patronise the space.

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