Gateway to the World of Dance

Narthaki Monthly Newsletter

February 2022

Birju Maharaj and Munna Shukla had different approaches but shared singular love for Kathak
- Anjana Rajan
True to the artiste's creed that all juniors complete their performance before the turn of the 'ustad', Guru Munna Shukla passed away five days before his guru, Pandit Birju Maharaj, bid the world goodbye.

When Birju Maharaj created movie magic
- Saswati Sen
A fascinating excerpt from Birju Maharaj: The Master Through My Eyes by his disciple, Saswati Sen.

Pandit Birju Maharaj, raja of ras
- Ashish Mohan Khokar
The Kathak stalwart’s impact and outreach have been and shall remain universal

Birju Maharaj, maestro who breathed Kathak and took it global, dies at 83
- Aditi Mangaldas

Birju Maharaj: An unmatchable talent
- VP Dhananjayan
Birju Maharaj was a child prodigy coming from a long lineage of ‘kathakars’ (storytellers), musicians skillfully handling vocal and percussion.

Tribute to Pt. Birju Maharaj
- Geeta Chandran
"Maharaj ji", truly that honorific most aptly suited this artist. He was -- and will continue to be --  the Maharaj of Kathak.

A tribute to the Kathak  Samrat
- Padmaja Suresh
This legendary dancer would make us all awed with goosebumps from the very instant he took to the stage.

How Pandit Birju Maharaj always stayed alive to sights, sounds, and sentiments of the present
- Ranjana Dave
Birju Maharaj’s artistic oeuvre was defined by this spontaneity. Kathak is richer for the ideas he brought to it.

A legend who will live on in our memories
- Shovana Narayan
Humour and interest in little details were indelible part of Maharaj ji’s character.

How Pandit Birju Maharaj captured rhythms of universe, incorporated them into his art
- Navina Jafa
Maharaj ji's teaching was enclosed in his communication that varied from the mundane to the metaphysical abstract.

Birju Maharaj democratised Kathak
- Madhu Nataraj
Bengaluru-based dancer and choreographer remembers the master.

Tributes to two veteran Kathak mentors
- Vijay Shanker
Pt Birju Maharaj (4 February 1938 - 17 January 2022) belonged to the Lucknow Kalka Bindadin Gharana…
Maharaj ruled the realm of Kathak
- Shrinkhla Sahai
Kathak owes much of its contemporary popularity to this creative genius.

Pandit Birju Maharaj leaves behind the tradition and legacy of Kathak, a dance form synonymous with his name
- Manish Sain
“Who can sit for three hours now? You need to be able to make them clap every three minutes. This has ruined the beauty of the dance, the seriousness of it,' Birju Maharaj said.

The maverick dancer
- Vatsala Vedantam
Singer, painter, poet and some more. A wizard on the tabla, a composer to whom music came unbeckoned just like the swirling rhythm of his dance.

Pandit Birju Maharaj in step with Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra; Know how the legends bonded
- OB Bureau

The Stealer of Sadness

- Narayani Ganesh

Birju Maharaj, the torch bearer of Lucknow Gharana, is no more.
I had the great fortune of learning Kathak from the three veterans of Kathak, Guru Shambhu Maharaj, Guru Birju Maharaj and Guru Maya Rao.
My association with Birju Bhaiyya (as we all called him) is as back as 1956. He was invited to perform at the Music Academy in Chennai, by the legendary dancer Balasaraswathi. Maya didi was to accompany him. It so happened that the dance festival at Davanagere coincided with his performance. So Maya didi and her husband M.S. Natarajan, who was heading the committee, invited him to perform. He was hardly 16 years old .He gave a scintillating performance. He also choreographed an item for us three sisters, a composition of Bindadin Maharaj, “Nirathatha Dhang” He took the part of Krishna. It was a great success and a most rewarding one too.
Subsequently I went to Delhi on a government of India scholarship, to train under Guru Shambhu Maharaj. By that time Birju Bhaiyya was appointed for the performing unit of Bharatiya Kala Kendra. So I had the opportunity to learn from Birju Maharaj.
He kept his innocence and simplicity till the end, though he was a tough taskmaster. His grace and deft footwork, has to this day, not been matched. He learned Bhav from his legendary uncle, Guru Shambhu Maharaj.
It is a coincidence that his end came similar to his uncle Shambhu Maharaj, who passed away while he was showing some bhav to Birju Maharaj. In his case the end came when he was enjoying Antakshari with his family. What a nice way to leave the mortal remains and embark on a journey to a new abode.
To the Maharaj of Kathak, no temple or monument will serve to dedicate his love and passion for his art but the treasure of the wealth and following that he has left behind will remain as a fitting tribute to his memory.
May his tireles soul attain Sadgati. Our heartfelt condolences to his family.  Om Shanti
- Chitra Rao Venugopal (Jan 18, 2022) on FB

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