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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Indian playwright Girish Karnad in Toronto for South Asian literary meet

GirishKarnad, the legendary Indian playwright, will be the star attraction at the Festival of South Asian Literature and the Arts (FSALA-11) to be held in Toronto from September 30, 2011 to October 2, 2011.
Karnad will be reading from his recently published autobiography at the Robert Gill Theatre, University of Toronto on October 1, 2011 (7:00 pm – 9:15 pm). His reading will be followed by a dance ballet Fallen Rain by inDANCE under maestro Hari Krishnan.
Girish Karnad
Septuagenarian Girish Karnad is a Kannada language playwright, poet, director, actor, critic and a cultural administrator.
Karnad is the recipient of innumerable awards including the prestigious Jnanpith Award – the highest literary award in India, similar to Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award.
Along with Mohan Rakesh (Hindi), Badal Sircar (Bengali) and Vijay Tendulkar (Marathi), Karnad is credited for creating a national theatre movement in India.
His plays such as Yayati, Tughlaq, Nagamandala changed the course of Indian theater. Karnad earned encomiums for using Indian legends, fables and history to depict the social realities of 20th century India. He has had an equally illustrious career in films.
Born in a Konkani (an Indian dialect) speaking family in 1938, Karnad’s ambition was to become known as an English poet. After his initial education in Karnataka, he went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.
He won his first award for his play Yayati – published in 1961, when he was 23-years-old.  Yayati is story of a king who is cursed to old-age in the prime of his life but deflects the curse by asking his son Puru to sacrifice his youth for him.
It was followed by Tughlaq – the play which earned Karnad international and lasting fame. It is named after Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq, one of the medieval kings of Delhi, and is a metaphorical depiction of the initial idealism of and subsequent disillusionment with the post-Independence India’s Nehruvian era.
Nagamandala, a story of a neglected wife’s affair with a cobra who transforms into her husband, is considered a classic. The English translation of the play was staged at the Guthrie Theatre (Minneapolis, USA) as part of its 30th anniversary in 1993.
In 1970, Karnad directed and acted in his first film Samsakara which is based on U.R. Ananthamurthy’s Kannada novel. His foray into films also brought him accolades. He is remembered for his role as Dr. Rao in Shyam Benegal’s Manthan (1976), where he co-stared Smita Patil, and as Swami’s father in the television serial Malgudi Days (1987), based on the works of R.K. Narayan.  

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