The week has kickstarted with tragic news. Renowned Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj breathed his last at the age of 83 in Delhi on Monday. The Padma Vibhushan recipient suffered a massive heart attack. Confirming the news, Birju Maharaj's granddaughter told ANI that he was under treatment for a month and when he complained of breathlessness, the family rushed him to a hospital.
Talking to the media agency, Ragini Maharaj said, "He was under treatment for the past month. He had sudden breathlessness at around 12:15-12:30 am last night; we brought him to the hospital within 10 mins, but he passed away." Remembering him, she added, "He loved gadgets, always wanted to buy them at the earliest. He always said, if not a dancer, he'd have been a mechanic, his image in my mind will always be smiling."
A descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, he was fondly called Panditji or Maharajji by his disciples. Apart from being a world-renowned Kathak dancer, Birju Maharaj was also a great singer who had command over forms like Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and Ghazal.
Birju Maharaj choreographed the song Kaahe Chhed Mohe from Devdas featuring Madhuri Dixit. He won a National Award for Unnai Kaanaathu (Vishwaroopam) and a Filmfare award for Deepika Padukone's song Mohe Rang Do Laal (Bajirao Mastani). The Kathak maestro played an important role in making Alia Bhatt’s song Ghar More Pardesiya from Kalank a dance spectacle.