PANDIT BIRJU MAHARAJ

Born in the family of hereditary dancers, Birju Maharaj is the torch bearer of the famous family , Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Lucknow, which has been serving the art of Kathak dance through centuries togather. Not only on India, he is familiarly known abroad, nearly all over the world. He has extensively toured all over the world, i.e. USSR, USA, Japan, UAE, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Aaustria, Czechoslovakia, Burma, Ceylon etc. for performances as well as lecture-demonstrations. Besides deing a superb dancer, he is also gifted with a number of other qualities which add to his artistic career.

He is a wonderful singer having command over, Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and Ghazals and is also superb drummer, playing nearly all drums with ease and precision. He has given a new dimension to Kathak, by experimenting this technique in the application of dance-dramas, which has become very successful medium for mass propagation. As a choreographer he is the finest in the country today. His bold and intellectual compositions in traditional themes are brilliant, whereas his contemporary works are also refreshing in concept, crisp and entertaining.

He directed and composed music and sung playback for two classical dance sequences in the film, 'The Chess Players' directed by Satyajit Ray. A measure of his genius is the fact that at the age of 28 years, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademy Award. He is also a recipient of the country's second highest civilian award-Padma Vibhushan, besides several other pestigeous awards like- Kalidas Samman, Nritya Choodamani, Andhra Ratna, Nritya Vilas, Adharshila Shikhar Samman, Soviet Land Nehru Award, Shiromani Samman, Rajiv Ghandhi Peace Award.

He has been conferred with the Honorary Doctorate degrees from Banaras Hindu University, as well as Khairagarh University. He is widely acclaimed not only as a performer but also as an inspiring 'Guru' - teacher, having successfully trained numerous students in India and Abroad.


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