The great Kathak emperor Pandit Birju Maharaj is no more, passes away. He breathed his last at the age of 83. Padma Vibhushan awardee Pandit Birju Maharaj breathed his last on the intervening night of Sunday-Monday at Delhi’s Saket Hospital. His grandson Swaransh Mishra gave this information.
Pandit Birju Maharaj has choreographed several songs in Bollywood including Kaahe Chhede Mohe for Devdas (2002) and Mohe Rang Do Laal in Bajirao Mastani (2015).
Brijmohan Mishra, popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj, belonged to the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana of Kathak dance in India. He was a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers. His two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and mentor, Achchan Maharaj, are also patrons of the area. Birju Maharaj was also known for Hindustani classical music and as a singer.
He gave his first singing at the age of seven. His father died on 20 May 1947 when he was nine years old. Maharaj began teaching dance at the age of thirteen at Sangeet Bharati in New Delhi. He then taught at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra and Kathak Kendra (a unit of the Sangeet Natak Akademi) in Delhi, where he was the faculty head and director, retiring in 1998.
He composed and sang music for two dance sequences in Satyajit Ray’s Shatrunj Ke Khiladi, and choreographed the song Kahe Chhede Mohe from the film version of the 2002 novel Devdas.