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Pandit Birju Maharaj, legendary Kathak dancer passes away at 83

Prime News, National (New Delhi), Jan 17:- Legendary Kathak dancer, Pandit Birju Maharaj passes away after suffering a heart attack. He was 83. He was at his home in Delhi. Brijmohan Mishra, fondly called Pandit-ji or Maharaj-ji by his students and followers, he was one of India’s best known artistes. Birju Maharaj has choreographed several songs in Bollywood including Kaahe Chhede Mohe for Devdas (2002) and Mohe Rang Do Laal in Bajirao Mastani (2015).

Brijmohan Mishra, popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj, was from the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana of Kathak dance in India. He was a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers. His two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj are also patrons of the field. Birju Maharaj was also known for Hindustani classical music and as a vocalist.

He gave his first recital at the age of seven. On 20 May 1947, his father died when he was nine. Maharaj started teaching the dance form at the age of thirteen, at the Sangeet Bharti in New Delhi. He then taught at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Delhi, and at the Kathak Kendra (a unit of the Sangeet Natak Akademi) where he was Head of Faculty, and director, retiring in 1998. He composed the music, and sang, for two dance sequences in the Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj ke Khilari, and choreographed the song Kaahe Chhed Mohe from the 2002 film version of novella Devdas. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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