Unknown Facts about Girish Karnad

Unexpected birth of Girish Karnad

Though Mr Girish Karnad was born on 19 May 1938 in Matheran, Bombay presidency, British India. His mother gave a thought of aborting him. Mr Girish himself had gone on a record and admitted that his mother had even visited the hospital to take the desired action but by the stroke of Mr Girish’s luck the doctors seemed to abscond on the very day.

Unknown facts about Girish karnad

Parental Influence

He was raised under the influence of a doctor and a nurse who happens to be his father and mother respectively. Both of his parents were a great admirer of Natak (Drama) and Yakshagana (An art form with the amalgamation of Dance and Theatre majorly seen in the Western coastal region of Karnataka).

His father was posted to Sirsi (it was popularly known as a malarial region) Karnataka. He got free passes to every theatre performances happening around Sirsi and that’s how he got introduced to the world of creative arts.

Unknown facts about Girish karnad

Sketching Skills

Now how many of you know that apart from the playwright, actor, activist, he was also a very good sketch artist. His favourite past time hobby while growing up was to make sketches of the famous personalities and get autographed on them. Some of the noted names of his sketches were T.S Eliot, Sean O Casey, Sarvepalli Radhakrishna. It was the Irish playwright Mr Sean O Casey who insisted Girsh to stop wasting his time and do something that people should take his autograph.

Unknown facts about Girish karnad

Initial Dream

Though the entire country knows him by his prolific work as a playwright in Kannada But Girish had something else in his mind that he aspired about.

He wanted to become a poet in English and wanted to get settled down in England. His aspiration was to become a poet next to T.S Eliot. It was one of the reasons why he moved abroad for his studies.

Unknown facts about Girish karnad

First play

Girish wrote his first play Yayati at the age 22 before heading to England. When he was in the first term, he received a letter from Kirthinath kuthokoti saying his play was getting published. Once it was published, It saw enormous success. It was then Girsh decided that he was returning to India.


One of the main reasons his work in creative art excelled was his circle. Girsh started his career along with Kirthinath kurthakoti, B.V Karanth, G B Joshi, all of them have contributed to the Kannada literature.

How Tughlaq Happened

When Mr Girish was seeing the success from his first play Yayati. It was Mr Kirthinath Kurthakoti was claimed that Kannada literature does not have any plays based on History events. It was then Mr Girish started to read Indian history from the Mohenjo Daro and travelled till Tughlag. And thus Tuglaq play was written.

Unknown facts about Girish karnad

A stint in Cinema and Television

Apart from his Contribution to the Theatre, One can witness his work in the films and television, both as actor and director. Although acting was never the first choice of his. His collaboration with great director Shyam Benegal gave Indian cinema films like Nishanth (1975), Manthan (1976) and as a director himself, he collaborated with Shankar nag for a film Ondanondu Kaladalli (1978) for which Shankar nag won national award for best actor. This duo went on to create a cult television series called Malgudi days.


It is disheartening that he is no more with us but his work in the creative arts will cherish amongst Artists across all age groups for many more years to come.

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