Girish Karnad is one of the most influential playwrights of our time and his plays have become a byword for imagination, innovation and craftsmanship. He has been honoured with the Padma Bhushan and was conferred the prestigious Jnanapith Award. He also received Sahitya Akademi Award. Girish Karnad wanted to be a poet, but he was destined to be a playwright. Basically Karnad belong to the Rannade theatre. Since 1980s, there has been considerable work done in the field of drama. And especially with the emergence of dramatist like Girish Karnad, Vijay Tendulkar, Mohan Rakesh, Badal Sarkar and a few more on the scene, dramas written in English in India have started attracting international importance. This article contains view on the thematic and technical aspects in the plays of Girish Karnard. A brief account of the plays of Karnad is given below, basing on this concept.
It is the first play of Karnad, published in 1964. It interprets as ancient myth from the ‘Mahabharatha’ in modern context. It is an existentialist play on the theme of responsibility. The story centres round the character of Yayati, “a king who is in the prime of his life is cursed to old age and he goes around asking people, “Will you take my old age? Will you take my old age?.” No once accepts, except his own son, Puru. Ultimately “the son becomes old and the father becomes young”. Yayati enjoyed happiness form varied sources but he is always discontented and is always madly running in pursuit of new pleasures and new enjoyments. He mistakes momentary worldly pleasures for eternal happiness and ponders over all the time how to get them.
Karnad interprets the ancient theme in modern context. Like Yayati, the common man of today is grouping in the darkness of material and sensual pleasures. He finds himself in a world in which old spiritual values have been entirely swept away and the new spiritual values are yet to be discovers. Karnad’s interpretation of the old myth on the exchange of ages between father and son puzzled and angered conventional critics but the enlightened readers and critics appreciated it for its modernity. It was originally written in Kannada and now it has been translated into English.
It is the second play of Girish Karnad and published in 1962. It was also originally written in his mother tongue, Kannada and later on it was translated into English by himself only. In fact this play is sufficient to earn for Girish Karnad an assured place among the Indo-Anglian dramatists. It is the play on the life and political career of Sultan Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq of the 14th century India. Karnad deviates from history when it is essential to create artistic and a dramatic effect. Karnad’s main aim is to highlight the contradictions in Sultan’s complex personality, who is both visionary and man of action, devout and irreligious, generous and unkind, human and barbarian. Tughlaq’s close...