Why did Pandit Birju Maharaj agree to teach dance to Madhuri Dixit and Kamal Haasan? - Newztezz Online

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Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Why did Pandit Birju Maharaj agree to teach dance to Madhuri Dixit and Kamal Haasan?


Today is the death anniversary of Pandit Birju Maharaj. He said goodbye to the world on 17 January 2022. Pandit Birju Maharaj, who was synonymous with Kathak all over the world, had also worked selectively for Hindi films. He used to narrate an amazing story of teaching dance to veteran artistes like Madhuri Dixit and Kamal Haasan.

The scenes from two years ago are completely fresh. The last rites of Pandit Birju Maharaj are taking place in Delhi. His disciples and family members are bidding him farewell by reciting Kathak lyrics. It is echoing in the entire crematorium - Ta Thei Thei Tat, Aa Thei Thei Tat. Pandit Birju Maharaj passed away after seeing everything at the age of 80. He witnessed the rich tradition of Kathak in his family. Father and his brothers saw the traditional art of Kathak of Pandit Bindadin Maharaj.

From there Pandit Birju Maharaj imbibed the values ​​of Kathak. Then he also saw the struggle after his father's untimely death. Saw mother's hard work and dedication in difficult times. Then saw success. Saw the peak of success when hundreds of people used to stand outside the hall and watch her dance on the screen. Saw love-respect-fame all over the world. Therefore, there was no better way to bid farewell to him in his absence. This was the depth of Pandit Birju Maharaj's personality that even after seeing everything, he used to say - “I am not a guru but a very good disciple. “I learn before I teach my disciples.”

Pandit Birju Maharaj also did selective work in films.

Pandit Birju Maharaj's uncle Lachhu Maharaj had settled in Bombay. He had choreographed superhit films like Mughal-e-Azam, Pakeezah and Mahal. Even today one gets pleasure from watching the choreography of these films. In his childhood, Pandit Birju Maharaj had also learned the nuances of dance from Lachhu Maharaj. Sometimes Pandit ji also felt like directing dance in films. But the atmosphere of films was such that Pandit ji used to say 'yes' very thoughtfully.

Pandit Birju Maharaj was associated with the great director Satyajit Ray's historical film 'Shatranj Ke Khiladi'. Pandit Birju Maharaj was responsible for composing and composing the music for two songs of this film. Pandit ji's disciple had to dance on this song. Well, the recording of the song started. Pandit Birju Maharaj started singing. The situation became like one take, two takes, five takes, seven takes, twelve takes, fifteen takes. Pandit ji himself was not satisfied with his singing. Repeatedly say 'one take' and do it.

When this number crossed twenty, Satyajit Ray himself gave the message that he would never be satisfied with his presentation. This problem occurs with genius people. Ultimately this is how the recording of the song was completed. That song was Kanha Main Tose Hari. In this song, Pandit Birju Maharaj's disciple Saswati Sen is seen dancing. Amjad Khan can also be seen. Well, it was natural for Pandit ji not to be satisfied with his singing. Otherwise, if you listened to his singing, your heart felt happy. He shared the stage with Appa ji i.e. Girija Devi in ​​a program in Delhi. Apart from this his painting was wonderful. If he was happy to see someone's dance, he would make him a 'sketch' of some Kathak pose. It was like his blessing.

When I worked for Madhuri and Shahrukh

It was the last years of the 90s. Famous producer-director Yash Chopra was making the film – Dil To Pagal Hai. Uttam Singh was composing the music of this film. Yash Chopra was known for the musical aspect of his films. By this time Pandit Birju Maharaj had become very big in the world of Kathak. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian award. Obviously Pandit ji did not want to do any light work. He was concerned about the purity of the dance. That is why he directly asked what were the lyrics of the song for which he had to prepare the choreography.

Pandit ji was told that there is no word for this dance. It means wordless. King Khan will play drums and Madhuri Dixit will dance on the screen. Pandit ji agreed. People still remember that dance of Madhuri Dixit. Then he also worked in 'Gadar'. Well, the story of that song was different. Because it was sung by classical singer Parveen Sultana and Pandit Ajay Chakraborty. Both the artists are big names in the world of classical music. Then came the turn of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas. It contained Thumri of Pandit Birju Maharaj's Baba. Devdas became a superhit. Why tease, tease, mohe garva lage, people liked this thumri very much. Madhuri Dixit once again did a tremendous dance. Pandit ji used to mention another film. Kamal Haasan's song in the film Vishwaroop was- Main Hoon Radha Meri Tu Hai Shyam Tera.. hence Pandit Birju Maharaj had also done this song.

Maharaj ji used to say – “Kamal Haasan is a great dancer. But before the shooting he started saying that Maharaj ji, if anything goes wrong, please get it fixed. I said don't worry. The good thing with Kamal Haasan or Madhuri Dixit is that they never considered us as dance masters, they always considered us as Maharaj. The hunger for perfection was visible in both. When you consider me as a Maharaj and work with me, I will do it, there are many dance masters roaming around outside. Today Maharaj ji is not there. But even today, if you pass by the National School of Drama, you can hear the sound of ghungroos. There used to be a Kathak center here for years. Pandit ji gave Kathak training here for years. Later the Kathak center was 'shifted' from here. But Pandit ji's sadhana, his practice and the training of his disciples are fragrant in the air here.

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