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Legendary Kathak Dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj passes away at 83

-By ArdorComm News Network

Padma Vibhushan awardee Pandit Birju Maharaj, who took the traditional Indian dance form to the world, left for his heavenly abode on Monday. The legendary Kathak dancer passed away at the age of 83 in Delhi after suffering a heart attack. As soon as the news of his death was shared on his social media platform by his granddaughter Ragini Maharaj, several Bollywood celebrities and his fans mourned the loss.
Maharaj-ji, as he was popularly known, died surrounded by his family and disciples. His granddaughter Ragini Maharaj told PTI, “He was with us when this happened. He had his dinner and we were playing antakshari because he loved old music. He was lying down and suddenly his breathing became uneven. We think it was cardiac arrest as he was also a heart patient. This happened between 12.15 and 12.30 am. It must have been just a minute or so. We rushed to the hospital but unfortunately, we could not save him. He died before reaching the hospital.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his death is an “irreparable loss” to the entire art world. “Deeply saddened by the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj ji, who gave Indian dance a special recognition world over. His passing is an irreparable loss to the entire art world. My condolences to his family and fans in this hour of grief,” the prime minister said.
Actor-politician Hema Malini was one of the firsts to pay tribute to the late dancer. “The nation mourns the passing of a true legend, Shri Birju Maharaj, Kathak exponent par excellence. 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 & will miss his presence on the firmament of dance,” the actor, who herself is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer, shared on Twitter.
Madhuri Dixit, who collaborated with him in three films wrote, “He was a legend but had a child like innocence. He was my guru but also my friend. He taught me the intricacies of dance and Abhinay but never failed to make me laugh at his funny anecdotes.”
Kamal Haasan shared a throwback picture of himself when he was trained by the legendary Birju Maharaj. He called him “the unparalleled dancer.”
Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan shared a throwback picture with Birju Maharaj. He said his passing away “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,” he shared.
Choreographer-turned-filmmaker Farah Khan was also among the firsts to react to Maharaj’s passing away. “The world loses a genuine stalwart,” she mentioned via Twitter.
Source: PTI

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