Legendary Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj dies at 83

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Birju Maharaj, a legendary Kathak dancer, died at 83 on Monday, according to news agency ANI, citing a relative.

“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,” his granddaughter Ragini Maharaj told ANI.His image in my mind will always be smiling, she added.

Birju Maharaj was a member of Lucknow’s Kalka-Bindadin Gharana.

On February 4, 1937, he was born Brij Mohan Nath Mishra into a well-known Kathak dancing family. He was shaped by the influence of Bindadeen Maharaj, in addition to his father Achchan Maharaj and uncles Shambhu and Lachchu Maharaj.

He began performing with his father when he was a kid, and in his teens, he became a Guru (Maharaj).

He is the master of the dance genre had earned him the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by the time he was 28.

Birju Maharaj established his own style, known for his excellent rhythm and expressive abhinaya, or gesture language. He was noted for being a superb choreographer who popularised dance dramas.

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

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