The Kennedy Center

Girish Karnad



Biography

Girish Karnad was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He has served as Director of the Film and Television Institute of India, Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (the National Academy of the Performing Arts), and Director of the Nehru Centre, London (the cultural wing of the High Commission of India). He has been Visiting Professor and Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Chicago. He was elected Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and has received the Sahitya Akademi award as well as the Jnanpith, India’s highest honor for life-time contribution to literature and the arts. He has been decorated with the Padma Bhushan. His career as a dramatist has been paralleled by an equally celebrated career as actor, screenwriter, and director of film and television, through which he played a pivotal role in the Indian Parallel Cinema movement from the 1970s to 1990s. Karnad’s first film, Samskara, for which he wrote the script and played the lead role, won the President’s Gold Medal for the Best Feature Film of the Year (1971). His next film, Vamsha Vriksha, which he wrote, directed, and acted in (with B. V. Karanth), received the National Award for Excellence in Direction. The third film, Kaadu, won the President’s Silver Medal and awards for individual performances. His film script for Bhumika won the National Award and for Godhuli the Filmfare Award (1979).  Karnad has acted in the films of Shyam Benegal and Nagesh Kukunoor, as well as in the teleserials of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen.
Girish Karnad