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Bollywood celebrities mourn death of kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj

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New Delhi: Popular Bollywood personalities like Kareena Kapoor Khan and Hema Malini have also taken to their social media accounts to mourn the death of legendary kathak dancer Pandit Birju Maharaj. Panditji’s sudden disappearance on January 17 left the nation in mourning over the loss of one of its legends. The 83-year-old kathak maestro left for the other world after suffering cardiac arrest on Sunday evening.

Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor took to her Instagram to mourn the loss of one of Kathak’s greatest legends. Sharing a photo of Panditji, she wrote, “Rest in peace.”

Veteran actress Hema Malini also took to her Instagram account to express her grief over Panditji’s sudden passing. The “Dream Girl” wrote: “The nation mourns the loss of a true legend, Shri Birju Maharaj, exponent of kathak par excellence. His ghungroos were on his ankles until his last breath. I have always admired and respected him as a giant of the Kathak medium and will miss his presence in the firmament of dance.”

Veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai tweeted his personal tribute to Pandit Birju Maharaj. Recalling the time when he organized a university festival where Maharaj ji performed, Ghai recalled how he “expressed a romantic conversation” between Lord Krishna and Radha with his talking eyes.

“I learned that ‘DANCE’ means the body but the soul is in the eyes. That’s why he was a Jagat Guru in Kathak,” tweeted Ghai, who is back in the news for doing his debut as a music composer for the upcoming film ’36 Farmhouse’.

Among the cultural figures who mourned Maharaj ji’s passing was sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saheb, who tweeted that it marked the end of an era for Indian dance and kathak.

“For me, this has been a personal loss,” wrote Khan Saheb. “He was loved immensely by my family and his memories will live on in our hearts forever. The heavens will dance for him today and every day!”

Along with his tweet, he wore a rare photo of a young Birju Maharaj playing the tabla on his sarod. Apart from being a renowned dancer, Maharaj ji was a talented percussionist and was also known to be a Hindustani classical singer.

Maharaj ji, in fact, composed the music and sang for the two period dance pieces in Satyajit Ray’s historical drama “Shatranj Ke Khiladi”, starring Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffery and Amjad Ali Khan.

Maharaj ji was closely associated with the world of cinema. He choreographed the track ‘Kaahe Chhed Mohe’ featured on Madhur Dixit in the 2002 version of the Shah Rukh Khan-featured ‘Devdas’.

And he won the national prize for the choreography of “Unnai Kaanadhu Naan” in Kamal Haasan’s multilingual megahit “Vishwaroopam” and the Filmfare Awards for Bajirao Mastani’s number “Mohe Rang Do Laal”.

With contributions from IANS.

ALSO READ: President Kovind and Prime Minister Modi mourn the death of Kathak maestro Birju Maharaj

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