Pt. Birju Maharaj Biography
Pt. Birju Maharaj Probably the greatest exponent of Kathak, Pt Birju Maharaj was born on 4th February 1938. He belongs to the Kalka-Bindadin Lucknow Gharana of Kathak. Named Brij Mohan, he is the son of legendary Achchan Maharaj of Maharaj family of Kathak dancers.
Brij Mohan was into dancing from the initial years of life. Trained by his uncles Shambhu Maharaj and Lachchu Maharaj he gave his first performance at the age of seven. After the death of his father his family moved to Delhi and he started teaching Kathak at the Sangeet Bharti in Delhi. He has toured all over the world to popularize the Indian classical dance form. With the help of new Kathak dance dramas this legend took Kathak to new heights. He has organized many workshops for Kathak students. He also taught Kathak at the Bhatatiya Kala Kendra, Delhi and Kathak Kendra.
Besides being a legendary dancer Birju Maharaj is also a known vocalist, having command over Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and Ghazals. He is also accomplished in Hindustani classical music. He composed the music and also lend his voice for two dance sequences in the film ‘Shatranj Ke Khiladi’, directed by Satyajit Ray. He also gave music in the films such as Devdas (2002), Gadar (2001), and Dil To Pagal Hai (1997).
This accomplished dancer, singer,musician won many awards including Padma Vibhushan (1986), Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Kalidas Samman and the Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar in 2002. This torchbearer of Lucknow Gharana has been conferred the honorary Doctorate degrees by the Banaras Hindu University and the Khairagarh University.