One of the first Bollywood personalities to tweet his personal tribute to Pandit Birju Maharaj was the veteran filmmaker Subhash Ghai. Remembering the days when he was organising a college festival where Maharaj ji was performing, Ghai remembered how he expressed a romantic conversation between Lord Krishna and Radha with his eyes doing the talking.

“I learnt ‘DANCE’ means the body but the soul is in the eyes. That’s why he was a Jagat Guru in Kathak,” tweeted Ghai, who’s backing the news for making his debut as music composer for the upcoming film ’36 Farmhouse. Among the cultural personalities who mourned the passing away of Maharaj ji was the sarod maestro, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Saheb, who tweeted that it marked the end of an era for Indian dance and Kathak. “For me it’s been a per- sonal loss,” Khan Saheb wrote. “He was loved immensely by my family and his memories live in our hearts forever. The heavens will dance for him to day and everyday!”

Along with his tweet, he carried a rare picture of a young Birju Maharaj playing the tabla to his sarod. Besides being a renowned dancer, Maharaj ji was a talented percussionist and was also well known for being a Hindustani classical vocalist.

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.

Describing Maharajas “a true legend” and “Kathak exponent par excellence”, the Bollywood veteran and Lok Sabha MP from Mathura, Hema Malini, tweeted: “His ghungroos. were on his ankles till he breathed his last. I always admired and respected him as a giant of the medium of Kathak and will miss his presence on the firmament of dance.” Maharaj ji was closely associated with the world of cinema. He choreographed the ‘Kaahe Chhed Mohe’ track picturised on Madhur Dixit in the 2002 version of the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer ‘Devdas.

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Sonal Mansingh recalls Birju Maharaj’s passion for all arts
In a lengthy tribute to Pandit Birju Maharaj on Twitter, dance guru and Rajya Sabha MP Sonal Mansingh mourned the passing away of a colossus whom she described as “a complete artist and Icon of Kathak dance.

The acclaimed exponent of the Odissi and Bharatanatyam dance forms said in her tweet: “With his passing away curtain falls on an era of great art.Words fall short to describe his multi-faceted personality, his absolute passion for performing, teaching, painting, singing and creating new works is unparalleled.”

Mansingh concluded by saying: “There never was or will be another like him. It’s a personal loss to me. I shall cherish his deep affection and friendship of which he gave unstintingly. May his legacy continue to illuminate the world of Art.” Pandit Birju Maharaj, who had been diagnosed with kidney disease a month ago and put on dialysis, died at his home in Delhi late on Sunday. He was 83.

Khushbu Sundar condoles death of Pandit Birju Maharaj
Actress and politician Khushbu Sundar on Monday joined scores of other leaders and celebrities in condoling the death of Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj saying, “An era comes to an end. “Taking to Twitter to share her condolence. message, the actress said, “We have lost a stalwart in Pandit Birju Maharaj. He was an institution, an inspiration.”

Pandit Birju Maharaj, who had been diagnosed with a kidney disease recently and put on dialysis, passed away late on Sunday night at Delhi home. A recipient of the Patra Vibhushan, Maharaj ji was known for having made the Lucknow gharana of Kathak renowned throughout the world.

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