Legendary Kathak Dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj succumbed to a heart attack at age 83, in the late hours of January 16.
About Legendary Kathak dancer death:
Reports say that Legendary Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj was playing with his grandson at night when his health deteriorated and he became unconscious. He was then rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead.
While speaking to the media, Birju Maharaj’s granddaughter said, “He was under treatment for the past month. He had sudden breathlessness at around 12:15-12:30 am last night; we brought him to the hospital within 10 mins, but he passed away.”
Reports reveal that the Kathak exponent had been suffering from a kidney ailment and was under dialysis treatment.
Singer Adnan Sami over Maharaj ji’s death:
Singer Adnan Sami took his grief over the death of Maharaj ji to Twitter where he wrote, “Extremely saddened by the news about the passing away of Legendary Kathak Dancer- Pandit Birju Maharaj ji. We have lost an unparalleled institution in the field of the performing arts. He has influenced many generations through his genius. May he rest in peace.”
About Pandit Birju Maharaj:
Birju Maharaj was born on February 4, 1938 in the house of Kathak exponent, Jagannath Maharaj, popularly known as Acchan Maharaj of Lucknow Gharana. Maharaj ji was trained by his uncles, Lachhu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj and his father, and he gave his first recital at the age of seven.
Initially his name was ‘Dukh Haran’, which was later changed to ‘Brijmohan’, a synonym of Krishna. Brijmohan Nath Misra was then shortened to ‘Birju’.
After working along with his uncle, Shambhu Maharaj at Bhartiya Kala Kendra, later the Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, he remained head of the latter, for several years, till his retirement in 1998 when he opened his own dance school, Kalashram in Delhi.
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 after which he opened his own dance school, Kalashram, also in Delhi. 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.
In 1964, Maharaj ji was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and in year 2016, he bagged Filmfare Award for Best Choreography for Mohe Rang Do Laal (Bajirao Mastani).