Indian classical dance legend Birju Maharaj dies at 83

Birju Maharaj

Birju Maharaj

Birju Maharaj, an icon of Indian classical dance and among the country’s best-known performing artists, has died in New Delhi at the age of 83.

Maharaj, who was suffering from a kidney ailment, passed away early on Monday, his grandson Swaransh Mishra made this known on social media.

He likely died of cardiac arrest, his family told domestic media.

Maharaj was considered the top exponent of the classical Indian dance form Kathak, which can be seen in many Bollywood films.

He also won numerous awards, including India’s second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan.

Maharaj was born in the northern town of Handia in 1938 and began performing at an early age.

Over the course of six decades, he became a leading Kathak dancer and helped popularise the dance form in Bollywood.

Maharaj choreographed exquisite dance sequences and also composed music for popular Hindi films.

Tributes poured in from members of India’s entertainment industry in Mumbai as well as Indian leaders following news of his death.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said that the death marked the “end of an era.”

“It leaves a deep void in the Indian music and cultural space.

“He became an icon, making an unparalleled contribution to popularising Kathak globally,” he said. (dpa/NAN)

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