Babukodi Venkataramana Karanth (19 September 1929 – 1 September 2002) was a noted film and theatre personality from India. Throughout his life, he was director, actor and musician of modern Indian theatre, both in Kannada as well as in Hindi, and one of the pioneers of Kannada and Hindi new wave cinema.
Born in Dakshina Kannada, he was an alumnus of the National School of Drama (1962) and later, its director. He has directed many successful plays and has directed award-winning works in Kannada cinema. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri.
His entry brought about a sea change in Kannada theatre, which then was steeped in the old, formal proscenium style. His plays, like Jokumara Swamy, Sankranti, Huchu Kudure and Oedipus to name a few, which were directed in the early 1970s, were hailed as trendsetters. These plays touched upon all aspects of theatre, like language, music, song, stylisation.
The innovative use of music was one of Karanth’s biggest contributions to theatre. One of Karanth’s strengths was his ability to draw on classical, traditional and folk forms and fuse them in his compositions.
He was definitely one of the most renowned personalities, whose contribution had a remarkable effect on the theatre industry.