A playwright, film-maker and actor, Girish Karnad writes in Kannada and has translated many of his plays into English. His plays explore myth, legend, folklore and history and reintroduce music, mime and dance of traditional and classical Indian theatre into the contemporary stage. A Rhodes Scholar, he was awarded the Homi Bhabha Fellowship for work in traditional theatre.
He was Director, Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, and Director, the Nehru Centre, as well as Minister for Culture with the Indian High Commission in London. He was Visiting Professor and Fulbright-Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Chicago and Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi. His plays, Naga-Mandala and The Fire and the Rain, were performed in the US by the Guthrie Theatre, while the Haymarket Theatre, UK, commissioned and premiered Bali the Sacrifice.
His first film, Samskara, where he played the lead role, won the President’s Gold Medal for the Best Feature Film. He has acted in the films and teleserials, and scripted and presented the film The Bhagavad Gita for BBC Two. He has been awarded a DLitt by numerous universities. The University of Southern California has honoured him with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa. The International Theatre Institute of UNESCO, Paris has nominated him World Theatre Ambassador. He is the recipient of the Padma Bhushan and the Jnanapith award, the country’s highest literary prize.