Girish Karnad: Veteran actor dies at 81

Girish Raghunath Karnad, a contemporary writer, playwriter, actor and movie director in Kannada language poses for a profile shoot on March 7, 2010 in Bangalore, India. Image copyright Getty Images

Girish Karnad, an acclaimed Indian actor and playwright, has died after a long illness, his family said on Monday. He was 81.

A Rhodes scholar, Mr Karnad debuted in films in 1970 and acted in nearly a 100 movies since then.

But he is perhaps best-known for his incisive plays which are widely seen as a commentary on contemporary India.

Tributes from Indian writers, intellectuals and politicians have been pouring in on Twitter.

Mr Karnad died at hospital in the southern city of Bangalore, where he lived with his family.

He was outspoken about his political views and participated in protests against a spate of lynchings that targeted Muslims in recent years.

Mr Karnad won several awards, including the Jnanpith, India's most prestigious literary award and the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, which are among India's highest civilian honours.

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