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Speech on Pandit Birju Maharaj Jayanti – 4 February
Famous classical dance artist Pandit Birju Maharaj was born on February 4, 1938 in Lucknow. One of India’s most famous and loved artistes, Brij Mohan Nath Mishra (popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj) belonged to the Lucknow-based ‘Kalka-Bindadin Gharana’ of classical Kathak dance.
Birju Maharaj’s father and Guru Jagannath Maharaj (Acchan Maharaj), uncle Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj were also famous Kathak dancers.
The artistic personality of Pandit Birju Maharaj has been such, which is considered beyond logic. He was a guru, dancer, choreographer, singer and composer. He used to play percussion instruments, write poetry and also paint. Birju Maharaj, who was awarded ‘Padma Vibhushan’ in the year 1983, also choreographed dance in many Bollywood films, including films like Umrao Jaan, Dedh Ishqiya, Bajirao Mastani. Apart from Padma Vibhushan, he has also received Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Kalidas Samman.
In the year 2012, he was awarded the ‘National Film Award’ for the choreography in the film ‘Vishwaroopam’. He was awarded the Filmfare Award in the year 2016 for the choreography of the song ‘Mohe Rang Do Lal’ from Bajirao Mastani.
He received honorary doctorates from Kashi Hindu University and Khairagarh University. Her first solo performance was at the ‘Manmathanath Gupta Ceremony’ held in Bengal, where she demonstrated her dance skills to the stalwarts of ‘classical dance’.
On January 17, 2022, Renowned Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj, who took the traditional Indian dance form ‘Kathak’ to the world stage, passed away.