A legendary Kathak maestro, Panditji, 83, was at his home in Delhi when he suffered a heart attack. According to reports, he was playing with his grandsons, when, suddenly his health deteriorated and he lost consciousness. He was taken to hospital where he was declared dead.
“He was under treatment for the past month. He had sudden breathlessness at around 12:15-12:30 am last night; we brought him to the hospital within 10 mins, but he passed away,” shared the maestro’s granddaughter Ragini Maharaj. She added that post-dinner, the family was playing antakshari because Panditji loved old music. Suddenly his breathing became uneven and he was rushed to the hospital.
The Kathak exponent had been suffering from a kidney ailment and was under dialysis treatment.
Birju Maharaj was 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.
The Kathak legend was also a superb drummer, playing nearly all drums with ease and precision; he was especially fond of playing the Tabla and Naal, according to his official website. Birju Maharaj was also a singer par excellence, having command over Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and Ghazal.
A master storyteller, his performances were almost always interlaced with incidents from life, narrated to captivate the audience.