Birju Maharaj

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Pandit Birju Maharaj, the Kathak Wizard

Brijmohan Mishra (Hindi: बृजमोहन मिश्र) (born February 4, 1938), popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj (Hindi: पंडित बिरजू महाराज), is a legendary Indian dancer of Kathak style of dancing of the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana and has earned the sobriquet “Kathak dance Wizard”. Apart from dancing, he is a virtuoso singer of Hindustani classical music. His choreographing skills has taken the Kathak dance to peak of popularity. He has founded the Kalashram, an instituion to promote Kathak dance form. He has been honoured with Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, in addition to several prestigious awards.

Quotes[edit]

  • I was born in Lucknow 1938, 4 February. It was Friday. A hot day as it usually happens in spring...in that home where I was born there were only girls. I was the only boy. So our neighbours came saw that that there were all girls and just one boy... like Krishna and gopis they used to say. So my name became Brijmohan Misra. Brij is the name of the city where Krishna was born and ‘Mohan ‘means attraction. Brijmohan is a way of saying Krishna, the god of love and dance.
  • Solo dance was complete by one. Now because everybody is bored, feeling bored by one dancer only they are taking 10,20 people.
    • About the trend in Bollywood films which he felt was to keep the interest of the public though group choreography in "Movement in Stills: The Dance and Life of Kumudini Lakhia", page=178
  • Earlier one person would do a sam and the audience ten feet away knew that a new tukda was about to begin but now fifty of us did the same movement with the same precision; the audience even two hundred feet away knew and understood. Yes, we connected to many because we were many presenting one. We simply enlarged ourselves by being many more of us and we engulfed the stage.
    • When he changed over from solo form to group ballet of synchronized action and rhythm thus creating a dynamic impact on the audience in Raksha Bharadia (2006). Me A Handbook For Life. Rupa & Company. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-81-291-1058-9. 

About Birju Maharaj[edit]

  • Brijmohan Maharaj’s Kamdeva matched grace with grace. To the loving he added fear, and a secret knowledge of his fate. Together they devised a poignancy that was memorable and must surely be rare in dance.
    • His dance in the ballet choreography Rati Kamdeva performed along with co-artiste Kumudini Lakhi reviewed in the Statesman in "Movement in Stills: The Dance and Life of Kumudini Lakhia}, page=115.

India's Kathak Dance, Past Present, Future[edit]

Critique in The Guardian of 22 September 1981Reginald Massey (1 January 1999). India's Kathak Dance, Past Present, Future. Abhinav Publications. pp. 97–. ISBN 978-81-7017-374-8. 

  • Saturday night’s programme at the Wembley Conference Centre combined traditional solo pieces in the pure Lucnowi style, of which Birju Maharaj is the truest representative by both birth and achievement, and genuinely innovative balletsing such as Roopmati-Baz Bahadur.
  • The celebrated Roopmati-Baz Bahadur love affair of 16th century India has been the subject of much poetry and painting and certainly offered Birju Maharaj's choreography and dramatic sense the widest scope. With only a few dancers he orchestrated movement and pace and filled the stage admirably.
  • The naturalistic grace of Kathak was well used throughout.
  • Briju Maharaj’s Baaz Bahadur displayed both Pathan strength and artistic ecstasy – in fact this last Muslim king of Malwa was a considerable poet and ended his days as a musician in the court of Emperor Akbar.

External links[edit]

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