Jnanpith victor Girish Karnad dead at 81..

Girish Karnad veteran actor director and playwright passes away aged 81 at Bengaluru residence

Three years later, in 1964, Karnad wrote Tughlaq, another play based on the story of the 14th-century king Muhammad bin Tughluq.

Karnad has written numerous plays in Kannada and is considered one of Kannada literature's foremost playwrights. He wrote his first play, Yayati, at the age of 23. Former Chief Minister of Karnataka Sadananda Gowda tweeted, "The news of the death of Gyanapitha awardee, senior theater artist Dr. Girish Karnad, was revealed".

Karnad was a Jnanpith award victor and he was also honoured with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan, apart from multiple National Film Awards and a Sahitya Akademi honour. He was the recipient of the Jnanpith Award, India's highest literary prize, in 1999 for his contributions to literature and theatre. He made his acting debut and screenwriting debut in iconic Kannada movie, Samskara (1970), based on a novel by UR Ananthamurthy.

Some of his popular Kannada movies include Tabbaliyu Neenade Magane, Ondanondu Kaladalli, Cheluvi, Kaadu and Kanooru Heggaditi. Not just an actor par excellence, he was also a noted playwright and filmmaker.

Girish Karnad is one of the few film personalities who has won 10 National Film Awards in various categories. Karnad has also made several documentaries, which has won many accolades nationally and internationally.

Karnad succumbed to a prolonged illness at his residence in Vittal Mallya Road, Bengaluru at 6.30 am, according to his family.

Karnad was ailing for some time now, they said.

He was born in Maharashtra on May 19, 1938. In 1958, he got his Bachelor's degree from Karnataka University in 1958. He was also a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University, in the 1960s that earned him his Master of Arts degree in Philosophy, Political Science and Economics.

He is survived by his son Raghu Karnad. He had acted in a number of Nagesh Kukunoor films, starting with Iqbal, in which Karnad played the role of a ruthless cricket coach.