Birju Maharaj, Legendary Kathak dancer, passed away at 83

Birju Maharaj, Legendary Kathak dancer, passed away at 83

On Monday, Birju Maharaj, Legendary Kathak dancer, has passed away at the age of 83, news agency ANI reported, citing his relative.

Ragini Maharaj, his granddaughter, told ANI.

"He was under treatment for the last month. He had sudden breathlessness at around 12:15 to 12:30 am last night; we brought him to the hospital in 10 minutes, but he passed away,"

She added.

His image and reputation in my mind will always be smiling,

Birju Maharaj was a champion of the Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Lucknow.

In a well-known Kathak dancing family, he was born Brij Mohan Nath Mishra on February 4, 1937. Besides father Achchan Maharaj and uncles Lachchu and Shambhu Maharaj, he was shaped by the influence of Bindadeen Maharaj.

He began performing alongside his father and became a Guru (Maharaj) in his teens. Birju Maharaj also served in the durbar of Nawab of Rampur.

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By the age of 28, Birju Maharaj's mastery of the dance form had won him the coveted Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.

Known for his perfect rhythm and expressive abhinaya, or gesture language, Birju Maharaj developed his unique style. He was a brilliant choreographer, and he helped popularise dance dramas.

Birju Maharaj received numerous awards for his contributions to the performing arts, including one of the country's highest civilian honors, the Padma Vibhushan, in 1986.

Birju Maharaj was from the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, including his two uncles, Lachhu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj, and his father and Acchan Maharaj guru.

According to his official website, the Kathak legend was also a superb drummer, playing nearly all drums with ease and precision; he was especially fond of playing the Tabla and Naal.

Birju Maharaj was also a singer par excellence, having command over Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan, and Ghazal.

A master storyteller, he interlaced his performances with incidents from his life, narrated to captivate the audience. He was also keenly observant and always had something to say about day-to-day happenings, keeping people around him entertained with realistic imitations and vivid descriptions.

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