B. V. Karanth

Born in 1929 in Babukodi village, Karnataka, Shri Babukodi Venkataraman Karanth is a major figure in the annals of contemporary theatre. An actor, director, teacher, and music composer, he started his career in theatre with the Gubbi Veeranna company while he was still a boy. Later, he graduated from the National School of Drama, Delhi, and eventually headed the institution as its Director. He has also been the founder-director of two repertory groups – the Rangmandal of Bhopal and the Rangayana of Mysore. Besides, he has conducted theatre workshops at various places in the country and abroad. Shri B. V. Karanth has directed numerous plays in languages including Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Gujarati and Urdu. Some of his prominent productions include Jokumaraswami, Hayavadana, and Sattavara Neralu (in Kannada); Ghasiram Kotwal, Barnam Van, and Andher Nagari (in Hindi); and Kanak di Balli (in Punjabi). He has composed music for his own productions and for many other directors. Shri Karanth has also translated several plays, written plays for children, and has directed feature films and documentaries in Kannada, English and Hindi. He has scored music for films by directors including Girish Karnad, Mrinal Sen, G. V. Iyyar and Girish Kasaravalli. Besides, he has directed and composed music for six sound-and-light shows at places of historical importance. Shri Karanth has received various honours for his work over the years, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1976), the Padma Shri (1981), the Kalidas Samman (1996), and the Gubbi Veeranna Award (1997). His film Chomana Dudi won the President’s Gold Medal as the Best Film of the year in 1976. He has also received national awards for his music in the films Rishya Shrunga (1977) and Ghatashraddha (1978). For his contribution to Indian theatre, Shri B. V. Karanth is elected Fellow of Sangeet Natak Akademi.