Dance like Maharaj
Some concerts are hypnotic ó they come with a cumulative knowledge of a lifetime, and ideally, should go on forever. Last week, a concert at FICCI auditorium was one such treat. Kathak doyen Pandit Birju Maharaj had turned 75 and it was the finale of Vasantotsav organised by Kalashram, his institute. As Maharaj showcased ginti ki tihaies, various parans, pirouettes and bhav through a thumri sung by Pt Rajan and Sajan Mishra, his intricate footwork, superb control and stamina almost dared his age. Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain playing complex rhythm structures accompanied the music. ďHe danced on my fourth birthday. Ab kyunki Maharaj ji aaj chaar saal ke ho gaye hain, I wanted to pay him a tribute. While playing with him, I have no idea what he will do next. It is a playful challenge I look forward to,Ē Hussain said, with a laugh.
Sometimes an artiste is synonymous with an art form, but seldom does the opposite happen. Maharaj has danced for almost 70 years but he isnít tired. In fact, he refuses to even play the part. When we catch up with him at his Shahjahan Road residence, he greets us with child-like enthusiasm, after which his American student Natalia serves the customary pedas. His words are punctuated with animated gestures, telling us stories or the kathas of Kathak.
There is the flute, the shringar, the dancerís
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