Born: February 4, 1937
Achievement: Well-known exponent of Kathak; Recipient of Sangeet
Natak Academy Award, Padma Vibhushan, Kalidas Samman, Soviet Land Nehru
Award, SNA Award, Sangam Kala Award.
Pandit Birju Maharaj is a legendary Kathak dancer. He belongs an
illustrious family of dance masters of the Lucknow gharana. His two
uncles Shambu and Lacchu Maharaj, and his father Acchan Maharaj were all
well-known Kathak dancers. Apart from Kathak, Pandit Birju Maharaj is
also an accomplished vocalist.
Pandit Birju Maharaj alias Brij
Nath Mishra was born on February 4, 1937. He took training in Kathak
under the guidance of his father, Achchan Maharaj and uncles Lacchu
Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj. Birju Maharaj gave his first performance at
the young age of seven at Lucknow and after that there was no looking
Birju Maharaj is a multi-faceted personality. Besides his mastery over
Kathak, he is also a superb musician, percussionist, composer, teacher,
director, choreographer and a poet. Birju Maharaj has composed many
dance dramas like 'Gobardhan Leela', 'Makhan Chori', 'Malti-Madhav',
'Kumar Sambhav', and 'Phag Bahar'. Birju Maharaj has also dabbled in
films. He composed two classical dance sequence for Satyajit Ray's film
'Shatranj Ke Khiladi' and choreographed a song for Sanjay Leela
Bhansal's film 'Devdas'.
Birju Maharaj is a recipient of several honors and awards. These
include: Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Padma Vibhushan, Kalidas Samman,
Soviet Land Nehru Award, SNA Award, Sangam Kala Award etc. He was also
conferred with two honorary doctorate degrees and the Nehru Fellowship.
Birju Maharaj taught at Sangeet Bharati, Bharatiya Kala Kendra and
headed the teaching faculty Kathak Kendra in Delhi till his retirement