Amjad Ali Khan, Hema Malini, Sachin Tendulkar pay tribute to Birju Maharaj
Birju Maharaj, who had been diagnosed with kidney disease a few days ago and put on dialysis, died at his home in New Delhi late on Sunday
Legendary Kathak dancer, Birju Maharaj, who had been diagnosed with kidney disease a few days ago and put on dialysis, died at his home in New Delhi late on Sunday. He was 83. Ever since the news broke out, his fans and followers from across the country have been penning tributes.
One of the first Bollywood personalities to tweet his personal tribute to Pandit Birju Maharaj was the veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai.
Remembering the days when he was organising a college festival where Maharaj ji was performing, Ghai remembered how he "expressed a romantic conversation" between Lord Krishna and Radha with his eyes doing the talking. "I learnt 'DANCE' means the body but the soul is in the eyes. That's why he was a Jagat Guru in Kathak," tweeted Ghai.
Among the cultural personalities who mourned the passing away of Maharaj ji was the sarod maestro, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saheb, who tweeted that it marked the end of an era for Indian dance and Kathak.
"For me it's been a personal loss," Khan Saheb wrote. "He was loved immensely by my family and his memories live in our hearts forever. The heavens will dance for him today and everyday!"
Along with his tweet, he carried a rare picture of a young Birju Maharaj playing the tabla to his sarod. Besides being a renowned dancer, Maharaj ji was a talented percussionist and was also well-known for being a Hindustani classical vocalist.
The passing away of Pandit Birju Maharaj marks the end of an era for Indian dance and Kathak. For me it’s been a personal loss. He was loved immensely by my family and his memories live in our hearts forever. The heavens will dance for him today and everyday! May he RIP pic.twitter.com/aVYYUnU2UV— Amjad Ali Khan (@AAKSarod) January 17, 2022
Maharaj ji, in fact, composed the music and sang for the two period dance pieces in Satyajit Ray's historical drama 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi', starring Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffery and Amjad Ali Khan.
Describing Maharaj ji as "a true legend" and "Kathak exponent par excellence", the Bollywood veteran Hema Malini, tweeted: "His ghungroos were on his ankles till he breathed his last. I always admired and respected him as a giant of the medium of Kathak and will miss his presence on the firmament of dance."
Former cricketer Sachin Tendulkar wrote, "Pandit Birju Maharaj took Kathak from India to the world & inspired several people to take up the art. I am saddened to hear about his demise. He will continue to live through his art & artists inspired by him. Deepest condolences to his family & Kathak lovers across the world."
"A legendary artist and a gem in the Kathak World. The legacy of Pandit Birju Maharaj ji shall keep influencing many in the years to come. May his soul rest in peace," wrote Mithali Raj, captain of the women's national cricket team.
Actress Kajol wrote, "Pandit Birju Maharaj was a legend and an absolute wonder to watch... The world lost something priceless today. Rest In Peace, my deepest condolences to his family."
Pandit Birju Maharaj was a legend and an absolute wonder to watch... The world lost something priceless today. Rest In Peace, my deepest condolences to his family.#birjumaharaj pic.twitter.com/O3cBtRIGGa— Kajol (@itsKajolD) January 17, 2022
Maharaj ji was closely associated with the world of cinema. He choreographed the 'Kaahe Chhed Mohe' track picturised on Madhur Dixit in the 2002 version of the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer 'Devdas'.
And he won the National Award for choreographing 'Unnai Kaanadhu Naan' in the Kamal Haasan multi-lingual megahit 'Vishwaroopam' and the Filmfare Awards for the Bajirao Mastani number 'Mohe Rang Do Laal'.
(With inputs from IANS)