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Kathak's living legend, Pandit Birju Maharaj, dies at 83

January 17, 2022 07:40 AM

New Delhi, Jan 17

The living legend of Kathak, Birju Maharaj, who had been diagnosed with kidney disease a few days ago and put on dialysis, died at his home here late on Sunday. He was 83.

Maharaj ji, as he was popularly known, was said to be playing with his grandsons when his health unexpectedly deteriorated, requiring him to be rushed to the hospital, where he died of a heart attack.

A recipient of the country's second highest civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan, Maharaj ji was also a lifelong Kathak guru as well as a talented Hindustani classical singer and percussionist.

He will be remembered by cinema buffs for the two period dance sequences in Satyajit Ray's historical drama 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi' (for which he sang as well) and for the 'Kaahe Chhed Mohe' track picturised on Madhuri Dixit in the 2002 version of 'Devdas'.

Maharaj ji 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'.

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