Girish Karnad (1938-2019): 5 Most Memorable Hindi Films of the Actor

A young Girish Karnad speaking at a public event. (Image: Special arrangement)

A young Girish Karnad speaking at a public event. (Image: Special arrangement)

Girish Karnad died of multiple organ failure at his residence in Vittal Mallya Road, Bengaluru, on Monday morning. He was 81.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 10, 2019, 7:44 PM IST
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Indian film and literature lost one of its most iconic figures on Monday morning. A celebrated writer, filmmaker and actor, Girish Karnad was one of the most notable personalities in India’s creative space.

Equally revered for his sharp play-writing and an earnest acting, he had starred in several popular films, including Shyam Benegal’s Nishant and Manthan, Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal and Dor, and Yashraj Films’ Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai.

As India mourns his passing away, we look at Karnad’s five Hindi films in which his performances were most loved.

Ek Tha Tiger, Tiger Zinda Hai

Though Karnad has featured in several Bollywood films over the course of his prolific career, he is most fondly remembered as Shenoy, the RAW chief and Salman Khan’s boss in the 2012 blockbuster Ek Tha Tiger.

The Kabir Khan directorial also starred Katrina Kaif and Ranvir Shorey in pivotal roles. Inspired by the film’s box office success, the makers came out with a sequel (Tiger Zinda Hai) five years later, in which Karnad, much like everyone else, reprised his role.


Karnad won a lot of critical acclaim for his role of an opportunist cricket coach who chooses to favor a rich boy over a brilliant but poor protégé. The 2005 film has a stellar cast, including Naseeruddin Shah as an alcoholic former cricketer and Shreyas Talpade in the lead. Iqbal’s commercial and critical success played an important role in furthering Talpade and Kuknoor’s careers.

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Karnad plays Randhir Singh in the 2006 film, the father-in-law to Ayesha Takia’s protagonist. After his son’s death, he gets an offer to save his family haveli in exchange for his beautiful and young daughter-in-law, a barter to which he agrees without much remorse.


One of the most enduring roles of Karnad’s acting career, he plays a schoolmaster in Nishant, whose wife gets kidnapped by village locals. The film stars a huge ensemble cast, including Shabana Azmi, Anant Nag, Amrish Puri, Smita Patil and Naseeruddin Shah, and went on to establish its director Shyam Benegal and all its actors as pioneers of the parallel cinema movement in India.

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Data Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India
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