TATA Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award


Girish Karnad to be honoured with Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award 2017

Acclaimed Indian playwright, actor, film director, and writer Girish Karnad has been announced as the recipient of the Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017. The award will be presented to Karnad at the annual awards ceremony to be held on November 19, 2017, at the NCPA, Mumbai.

A Rhodes Scholar, Karnad was born in 1938 and studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Lincoln and Magdalen colleges in Oxford between 1960–63, earning his Master of Arts degree in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics. He has been composing award-winning plays and films for over five decades ever since.

A recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards, Karnad is celebrated internationally for his plays such as the critically acclaimed Yayati (1961), the historical Tughlaq (1964), and his three seminal works Hayavadana (1971), Naga-mandala (1988) and Taledanda (1990), that link folklore, mythology, and history with tackling the present-day crisis of the modern man.

Considering himself a playwright by heart and an actor by luck, Karnad is a master of his craft. His work, known for its wit, allegory and theatricality, has thrilled audiences for over 50 years. His 2012 masterpiece, Benda Kaalu on Toast that now has its own Marathi and English versions, is widely appreciated for its portrayal of issues such as urban migration, environmental damage and consumerist attitudes.

Girish Karnad says, “A poet, a novelist, an essayist or a person writing a love letter addresses an individual. If he or she has succeeded in persuading the recipient to agree and nod in approval, he or she has succeeded. A playwright, on the other hand, addresses an audience – scores, even hundreds of individuals who have come from disparate backgrounds to listen to him at that moment, challenging him to hold their attention – and he has to cater to  every member of that congregation, simultaneously and meaningfully. Besides, the process demands the involvement of so many other professionals giving their best – the director, the crew, even the costume assistant or the prompter. This is what makes theatre such an intricate world, a febrile network of human relationships woven in words, and this is why when, at the end of it all, one is told that one has succeeded, it is such an exhilarating experience. This is why when the Tata Literature Live!  honours me as a playwright, I feel enveloped by the warmth rolling in wave after wave – from across languages, cultures, and even  from bygone generations – saying to me ,’ Well done!’ What more could one want? This is the moment a playwright lives for.”

Past recipients of the Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award, a recognition instituted to celebrate and salute outstanding contribution to the Indian literary space, include legendary writers Amitav Ghosh in 2016, Kiran Nagarkar in 2015, MT Vasudevan Nair in 2014, Khushwant Singh in 2013, Sir VS Naipaul in 2012, and Mahashweta Devi in 2011.

In recognition of his invaluable contributions to the literature and arts scene globally, Karnad was also honored with the Jnanpith Award in 1999. He has also been active in the world of Indian cinema where he directed Kanooru Heggadithi (1999), and acted in Iqbal (2005) and Life Goes On (2009). In the past, he has also won four Filmfare Awards, three for Best Director – Kannada for Vamsha Vriksha (1972), Kaadu (1974), Ondanondu Kaladalli 1978 and one for Best Screenplay for Godhuli with B.V. Karanth in 1980.

Anil Dharker, Founder and Director, Literature Live! says, “We are absolutely thrilled to announce Karnad as the recipient of the Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award 2017. His work, that marked the coming of age of modern Indian playwriting in the 60’s has significantly helped shape and enhance the Indian art and literature universe. We are looking forward to having him with us at the festival.”

Mr. Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons, says, “It is a privilege to host Girish Karnad at the festival and to present him with the Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award this year, commemorating his active and diverse role in literature and cinema.  He is a giant of our generation, with memorable and influential contributions as playwright, writer, actor and director.”

Since its inception, Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest has instituted awards to honour achievements by Indian writers, both emerging and accomplished. Ten awards will be presented to celebrate and recognise outstanding works – the Tata Nexon Literature Live! First Book Awards and the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Awards in the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories; Tata Capital Literature Live! Business Book Award; Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award; Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award; Tata Literature Live! Publisher of the Year Award and the Big Little Book Awards for Author and Illustrator in the Literature-for-children category.

One of the India’s best international literary festivals, and Mumbai’s biggest, Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is back to mark the city’s cultural calendar from 16th November to 19th November 2017. Over four days, the festival will take place at two venues – National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point (16th to 19th November 2017) and Prithvi Theatre, Juhu (18th and 19thNovember,2017) – bringing together an eclectic mix of authors from around the world.