February 16, 2022
Pandit Birju Maharaj, a legendary kathak dancer, composer and singer, passed away at the age of 84. He was an exponent of Lucknow’s Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Kathak. Maharaj was born in a well-known kathak family; besides his father, Achchan Maharaj, and his uncles, Shambhu and Lachchu Maharaj, he was influenced by Bindadin Maharaj. His kathak performances showcased mythological stories in contemporary settings, allowing him to touch upon social issues. He also choreographed and created music for many Indian movies such as ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’, ‘Devdas’, ‘Vishwaroopam’, ‘Bajirao Mastani’ and ‘Kalank’. In 1986, he was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour.