Girish Karnad, eminent playwright, Jnanpith laureate and one of the pillars of parallel cinema in India turns 76 today. Glamsham.Com wishes him birthday greetings and discovers how Girish Karnad accidently became an actor.
The younger generation recognizes Girish Karnad as RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) officer in Salman Khan’s hit movie EK THA TIGER. Besides acting Girish Karnad’s first love is writing and it was his writing skills that made him popular in the early 60’s. Later his movies inspired by Satyajit Ray’s style of film making won him national and international acclaim.
Impressed by his movies, filmmaker Shyam Benegal, who gave respectability to parallel cinema with his movies like ANKUR, NISHANT, JUNOON etc. invited him to work in his movie MANTHAN. Girish Karnad readily agreed as he regarded Shyam Benegal in the ranks of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen etc. Howeve,r Girish Karnad was left dumbfounded when Shyam, instead of offering him writing assignment asked Girish to act in the movie.
Recalling the incident, Girish Karnad in one of the interviews had said, ”When Shyam asked me to act in the movie I declined. But Shyam convinced me that’s how I became an actor accidently!” Girish Karnad further candidly admitted, ”I think Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri are great actors but I am just mediocre.”
Interestingly, in the 70s when Girish Karnad was appointed as the director at FTII (Film and Television Institute), it was he who protested against the management and granted admission to Om Puri, who was denied because of his unconventional looks, on the merit of acting skills.