New Delhi: Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj has passed away. His relative informed about his death. On the death of legendary Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj, his granddaughter Ragini Maharaj told that he was undergoing treatment for the last one month.
Last night he ate food with my hands, I also made him drink coffee. Meanwhile, he was having trouble breathing, we took him to the hospital but he could not be saved.
PM Modi mourns the death of Birju Maharaj
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on the death of Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj, writing, “Extremely saddened by the passing away of Pandit Birju Maharaj ji, who has given Indian dance a unique identity to the world. His passing is an irreparable loss to the entire art world. My condolences to his family and fans in this hour of grief. Om Shanti!”
भारतीय नृत्य कला को विश्वभर में विशिष्ट पहचान दिलाने वाले पंडित बिरजू महाराज जी के निधन से अत्यंत दुख हुआ है। उनका जाना संपूर्ण कला जगत के लिए एक अपूरणीय क्षति है। शोक की इस घड़ी में मेरी संवेदनाएं उनके परिजनों और प्रशंसकों के साथ हैं। ओम शांति! pic.twitter.com/PtqDkoe8kd
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 17, 2022
Nitish condoles the death of Birju Maharaj
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has condoled the death of Padma Vibhushan awardee Kathak dance guru Pandit Birju Maharaj. Nitish Kumar tweeted and wrote that the death of great Kathak dancer and Padma Vibhushan Pt. #BirjuMaharaj ji is sad.
महान कथक नर्तक और पद्म विभूषण पं० #BirjuMaharaj जी का निधन दुःखद। उनके निधन से कला एवं संस्कृति के क्षेत्र में अपूरणीय क्षति हुई है। उन्हें बिहार सरकार द्वारा राष्ट्रीय स्तर का कला पुरस्कार 2013 में दिया गया था। वे कलाकारों के प्रेरणास्रोत रहे हैं। विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि।
— Nitish Kumar (@NitishKumar) January 17, 2022
His death has caused an irreparable loss in the field of art and culture. He was given the National Level Art Award by the Government of Bihar in 2013. He has been an inspiration to the artists. Humble tribute. Let us inform that the Katha dance guru Birju Maharaj passed away on Monday due to a heart attack. He was 83 years old. He breathed his last at a hospital in Saket in Delhi.
Birju Maharaj Family, Career and Early Life
Brij Mohan Nath Mishra popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj, was an exponent of the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana of Kathak dance in India. He was a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers which includes his two uncles Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj and his father and guru Achan Maharaj. He also practiced Hindustani classical music and was a singer.
He remained the head of the latter for many years, working with his uncle Shambhu Maharaj at the Indian Arts Center (later Kathak Center in New Delhi). Till his retirement in 1998 when he also opened his own dance school Kalashram.
Early life and background
Birju Maharaj was born on 4 February 1938 in a Hindu Brahmin family in the house of Kathak exponent Jagannath Maharaj who was known as Achan Maharaj of Lucknow Gharana. He worked as a court dancer in the princely state of Raigad. Birju was trained by his uncles Lachhu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj and his father. He gave his first lessons at the age of seven. His father died on 20 May 1947 when he was nine years old.
Maharaj began teaching dance at the age of thirteen at Sangeet Bharati in New Delhi. He then taught at the Bhartiya Kala Kendra and Kathak Kendra (a unit of the Sangeet Natak Akademi) in Delhi where he was the faculty head and director.
Retired in 1998 after which he opened his own Kalashram dance school in Delhi. He composed and sang the music for two dance sequences in Satyajit Ray’s Shatrunj Ke Khiladi. Choreographed the song Kahe Chhede Mohe from the film version of the 2002 novel Devdas.
Awards and honours of Pandit Birju Maharaj
- 1964 – Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
- 1986 – Padma Vibhushan
- 1986 – Nritya Choodamani Award by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
- 1987 – Kalidas Samman
- 2002 – Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar
- Honorary doctorate from Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya
- Honorary doctorate from Banaras Hindu University
- Sangam Kala Award
- Bharat Muni Sammaan
- Andhra Ratna
- Nritya Vilas Award
- Adharshila Shikhar Samman
- Soviet Land Nehru Award
- National Nritya Shiromani Award
- Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award
- 2012 – National Film Award for Best Choreography for Unnai Kaanaathu (Vishwaroopam)
- 2016 – Filmfare Award for Best Choreography for Mohe Rang Do Laal (Bajirao Mastani)