Pandit Birju Maharaj (1938 - 2022): PM Narendra Modi, Kamal Haasan & others pay tribute to the icon

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jan 17, 2022, 11:57 AM(IST)

Pandit Birju Maharaj Photograph:( Twitter )

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A descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, Pandit Birju Maharaj, was a recipient of the country's second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan.  

Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj passed away at the age of 83 after suffering a massive heart attack. His death prompted an outpouring of tributes from many celebrities, who honoured his work and legacy. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed anguish over the sudden death of the Kathak maestro. In his tweet, PM acknowledged his remarkable contribution to the Indian dance form.

"Extremely saddened after learning about the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj, who gave Indian art a special recognition across the globe. It`s an irreparable loss to the entire art world. My heartfelt condolences to his family and fans. Om Shanti," he tweeted.

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Pandit Birju Maharajchoreographed Kamal Haasan's Kathak dance number 'Unnai Kaanadhu Naan' in Vishwaroopam (2013), which is among the highlights of the versatile actor’s career. Sharing a throwback photo, Haasan wrote, ''Pandit Birju Maharaj, the unparalleled dancer, has passed away.''

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''My first learning from kathak dance maestro was in my college youth festival when he expressed a romantic conversation between lord krishna n radha thru his two eyes talking. I learnt ‘DANCE means body but soul is in eyes. That’s y he was a Jagat guru in kathak. RIP BIRJU SIR,'' filmmaker Subhash Ghai wrote. 

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Remembering Birju Maharaj, Anupam Kher shared a video and said, ''He (Birju Maharaj) used to tell me, 'there is a lot of naughtiness in your eyes,' ''
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta wrote on Twitter, “One of Kathak’s greatest ambassadors is gone. RIP Panditji.”

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"Extremely saddened by the news about the passing away of Legendary Kathak Dancer- Pandit Birju Maharaj ji. We have lost an unparalleled institution in the field of the performing arts. He has influenced many generations through his genius. May he rest in peace," singer Adnan Sami tweeted.  

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Filmmaker Ashok Pandit also tweeted for the maestro and wrote, "Sad to know about the demise of kathak legend  & vocalist Padma Vibhushan Pandit #birjumaharaj ji after suffering a heart attack in Delhi. Its an end of an era. My heartfelt condolences to his family & near ones."

A descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, Pandit Birju Maharaj, who has practised Hindustani classical music and was a vocalist, also choreographed several songs in Bollywood such as `Kaahe Chhede Mohe` (Devdas), `Mohe Rang Do Laal` (Bajirao Mastani) and many more.

He was a recipient of the country's second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan.  

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