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Legendary Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj passes away

Legendary Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj has passed away at his home in Delhi late Sunday night. He was 83. As per reports, Birju Maharaj was playing with his grandsons late on Sunday night when his health deteriorated and he became unconscious. He was taken to hospital where he was declared dead. He was diagnosed with kidney disease a few days ago and had been on dialysis. Birju Maharaj was an exponent of the Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Lucknow.

He was born as Brij Mohan Nath Mishra on February 4, 1937 in a well-known Kathak dancing family. Besides father Achchan Maharaj and uncles Shambhu and Lachchu Maharaj, he was shaped by the influence of Bindadeen Maharaj.  Birju Maharaj's mastery of the dance form had won him the coveted Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. Known for his perfect rhythm and expressive abhinaya, or gesture language, Birju Maharaj developed his own unique style. He was known as a brilliant choreographer, and he helped popularise dance-dramas.

A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, he was fondly called Pandit-ji or Maharaj-ji by his disciples and legions of followers, and was one of India's best known artistes. The Kathak legend was also a superb drummer, playing nearly all drums with ease and precision; he was especially fond of playing the Tabla and Naal. Birju Maharaj was also a singer par excellence, having command over Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and Ghazal.

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