Hubballi: The death of eminent playwright , Girish Karnad, has sent shockwaves in the literary world in Dharwad, which he had a special bond with, being seen as its cultural ambassador.
Having done his high school at the Basel Mission and graduated from the prestigious Karnataka Arts College in Dharwad, Karnad went on to hugely contribute to the city’s literary environment.
The brain behind the ‘Dharwad Sahitya Sambrama’, the annual literary fest that sees eminent personalities from across the country taking part, he too active part in the first literary fest that was held in 2013. And he frequently visited the prestigious publishing house, Manohar Granthamala, in Gandhi Chowk whenever he came to Dharwad.
His roots were deep in the city, with his father, Raghunath, buying a house in Saraswatapura in 1951. It once belonged to the Koppikar family and Mahatma Gandhi is said to have stayed in it when he came to attend the Congress session in Belagavi. While Raghunath later gifted the house to his daughter, Girish Karnad bought it and often played host to Bollywood actors like Amol Palekar, Shabana Azmi, Om Puri and Amrish Puri during his stays there. In 2015, however, Karnad sold the house for Rs 2.48 crore.
“Girish Karnad did not want his old traditional style house to be demolished and replaced by a modern one and so waited for a long time to find such a buyer. Finally, he found a West Bengal-based purchaser and IFS officer, who was also his fan,” said Mr Lohit Naikar, the son of the late former KPCC president, D K Naikar .
Litterateurs here recall his efforts to build a state-of-the -art Shrujana Rangamandir auditorium at the Karnataka College with the help of donations from Infosys co-founder, Nandan Nilekani who is also a former students of the college.
“Girish Karnad was a simple man, who never sought special treatment whenever he visited Dharwad. He created a new tradition in the field of drama and internationalised our plays through the English language,” summed up writer and intellectual, H M Kakhandki.
Dharwad film society mourns Karnad
Jnanapith awardee and renowned playwright, Girish Karnad, who passed away on Monday at the end of a long and illustrious career spanning both theatre and films, started the Chitra Film Society, the first of its kind in Karnataka, in Dharwad in 1971 with his friends, Vijay Nilekani, the brother of infosy’s co-founder, Nandan Nilekeni and Prof Shafi Khan.
The idea was to introduce award-winning international and national movies to the people and create a platform for budding filmmakers to interact with noted directors and producers. The society today holds film festivals and screens non-commercial award-winning movies free of cost.
The secretary of the society, A M Khan revealed Karnad was inspired by the first film society founded by legendary filmmaker, Satyajit in Kolkata. “Karnad put a lot of effort into getting new members to promote the society and was constantly in touch with the locals here. By introducing several award-winning movies to the lay person, he took the society to greater heights,” he said. However, as his health deteriorated, Karnad offered to step down as president of the society and make way for a local person to be appointed in his place. But the members of the society refused to accept his resignation and made sure he continued as president of the society, going by Mr Khan....