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Exclusive Interview : We have been celebrating Kathak since seven generation: Pandit Birju Maharaj

Kathak Maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj at Kalashree Kathak Competition
Kathak Maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj at Kalashree Kathak Competition

Pandit Birju Maharaj who hails from the cultural background of classical persona, his birth place to be Lucknow calls Bengal his mother and Maharashtra his father

When we speak about Kathak, one of the names associated with it is Pandit Birju Maharaj whose hometown remains to be Lucknow, a land of culture. When asked him about marking his presence, he says Bengal is his mother and Maharashtra his father.

In a recent conversation with him, we asked him why his presence is less felt in Mumbai, he said, “I have been busy in Delhi these days, but Mumbai will always be beloved to me. Moreover, Delhi has been quite supportive recently and they understand the basis of this genre and appreciation is amazing.”

On talking about Kathak being mixed with different forms of dance, he says, “Every dance form has its own essence. Because they do not understand the depth and strength of the genre, it happens to go out of their parameters. If I speak in Bengali, then it should be Bengali. When I speak in English, it should be English.”

“Keep the definition of Kathak in its own unique way. May it be packaged as glamorously but when it comes to performing it should not cross its boundaries.” he added.

Speaking further on commercializing Kathak as a dance form, according to him is not a good idea.

Also with the growing trends of reality show, will Kathak still stand out, Pandit Birju Maharaj said, “Yes it can. It is a Riyaaz and hard work of each and every individual. It is the amount of effort they put in. We have an age bar to justify the form and Kathak is taught from the basic level, hence it grows by the roots.”

 

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