Achievers News: Legendary Kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj passed away following a heart attack at his residence in Delhi on Sunday. He was 83.
Maharaj whose original name is Brij Mohan Nath Mishra was a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers.
He was born in the house of Kathak exponent, Jagannath Maharaj, popularly known as Acchan Maharaj of Lucknow Gharana, who served as court dancer in Raigarh princely state.
Maharaj was trained by his uncles, Lachhu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj, and his father, and he gave his first recital at the age of seven.
He 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.