Popular dancer Briju Maharaj passes away

Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj (83) passed away due to age-related illness. A Padma Bhushan awardee, he won the National award for best Choreography for the song Unnai Kaanaathu in Kamal haasan starrer Vishwaroopam.

Maharaj started teaching the dance form at the age of thirteen, at the Sangeet Bharti in New Delhi. He then taught at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Delhi, and at the Kathak Kendra (a unit of the Sangeet Natak Akademi) where he was Head of Faculty, and director, retiring in 1998 after which he opened his own dance school, Kalashram, also in Delhi.

He composed the music, and sang, for two dance sequences in the Satyajit Ray's Shatranj ke Khilari, and choreographed the song Kaahe Chhed Mohe from the 2002 film version of novella Devdas.