Pandit Birju Maharaj and Vidushi Saswati Sen
Pandit Birju Maharaj
Brijmohan Mishra, popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj, (born 4 February 1938), is an exponent of the Handia (Rikhipur), Allahabad Kalka-Bindadin gharana of Kathak dance in India. He is a descendant of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, which includes his two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj. Even though dancing is his first love, he practices Hindustani classical music and is a vocalist.
After working along with his uncle, Shambhu Maharaj at Bhartiya Kala Kendra, later the Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, he remained head of the latter, for several years, till his retirement in 1998 when he opened his own dance school, Kalashram, also in Delhi.
Awards and honours
Birju Maharaj has won many accolades, including Padma Vibhushan in 1986, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Kalidas Samman. He also received honorary Doctorate degrees from Banaras Hindu University(Varanasi) and Khairagarh University.
- Filmfare Award for Best Choreography for song 'Mohe Rang Do Laal' from 'Bajirao Mastani' in 2016.
- He was the recipient of the Lata Mangeshkar Puraskaar in 2002.
- Bharat Muni Sammaan
- 2012 National Film Award for Best Choreography: Vishwaroopam (2012)
- 2016 Filmfare award: Bajirao Mastani (Best choreography)
- 2017 Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Choreographer- Vishwaroopam (2013)
Saswati Sen is a leading Indian exponent of Kathak, an Indian classical dance form. She is a senior disciple of Pandit Birju Maharaj. She achieved early fame by dancing in Satyajit Ray's film, Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977), his invocation of Lucknow society at its "Paris of India" zenith.
Born to a family of legal and medical professionals, Saswati took to dance at an early age. Says Saswati, "My mother had enrolled me at Bhartiya Kala Kendra to learn Kathak under Reba Vidyarthi. I took to Kathak like a duck to water." After receiving her initial training at Delhi’s Kathak Kendra under the guidance of Smt Reba Vidyarthi, she received the National Scholarship in Performing Arts and graduated to become the prime disciple of Pt Birju Maharaj.
Awards and honors
Saswati Sen has been honored with:
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
- Sanskriti Award
- Shringar Mani Award and
- Critic’s Recommendation Award
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