Only mentioning the name of Pandit Birju Maharaj is more than enough to narrate the depth of Kathak Dance Tradition of India. He has literally acquired a designation of an Indian Cultural Ambassador in the rest of the world. Witnessing his performance as a Kathak Dancer is nothing less than to watch spellbindingly an invigorating lightning flash in the sky.
Many of the readers might not know that though acclaimed internationally for his unparalleled expertise in Kathak Dance, Pandit Birju Maharaj has a great skill in gazal singing and Tabla playing also. Those are really blessed who could ever have an opportunity to see him singing gazals or playing Tabla.
In the cultural capital of Maharashtra Pune, the 3rd of January 2016 was an out of the ordinary Sunday evening for music lovers. The venue was ‘Kala Chhaya’ in Patrakar Nagar. There, Panditji came and conquered every spectator, when he started singing gazals and various tukdas of Thumri. What else could a true music lover expect as a new year delight?
While the event was going on, Panditji’s disciple Shashvati Sen also enthralled everyone with her Kathak Dance performance. She also demonstrated ‘Nritya Khela’. It was a set of unique pieces of Kathak Dance that Pandit Birju Maharaj had especially designed for 1982 ‘Asiad Games’ held in New Delhi. Panditji had logically interwoven Kabaddi and Kho-kho actions in these inimitable dance pieces for the 1982 Aisan sports event.
Then there was a moment of nervousness for Shashvati while performing her Dance. As her ‘Gurudeo’ Pandit Birju Maharaj was in the spectators, she felt some unease to present her art. Therefore very modestly, when she requested him to come to the dais, Panditji too couldn’t refuse a disciple’s request. He then mesmerized the audience with his fluent Tabla accompaniment to Shashvati.