One fam­ily has dom­i­nated kathak since the days of the nawabs

India Today - - THE ARTS -

1. WA­JID ALI SHAH (1822-1887), the last nawab of Awadh, was a singer­dancer and com­poser. He pa­tro­n­ised the an­ces­tors of Birju Ma­haraj and gave them a house to live in Luc­know.

2. THAKUR PRASAD was Wa­jid Ali’s court dancer, along with his cousin Durga Prasad, and they taught the nawab. Durga Prasad’s two sons be­came fa­mous as the Kalka-Bin­dadin duo.

3. KALKA PRASAD was also in Wa­jid Ali’s court. He was cel­e­brated for his amaz­ing foot­work and com­mand over com­plex rhythms. Along with his brother Bin­dadin, he be­came fa­mous all over In­dia.

4. BIN­DADIN MA­HARAJ was a great Kr­ishna devo­tee and com­posed hun­dreds of songs that are sung and danced even to­day. He taught his three neph­ews who dom­i­nated kathak in the 20th century.


MA­HARAJ was de­scribed so be­cause he was achchha or good. The very model of agility and grace de­spite his heavy build, he not only taught his younger broth­ers but also many pupils from all over In­dia. He is Birju Ma­haraj’s fa­ther.

6. LACHCHHU MA­HARAJ, the sec­ond brother, was lacheela, light in body. He started with New The­atres in Kolkata and then moved to Mum­bai where he di­rected sev­eral dance se­quences and taught sev­eral film stars as well.

7. SHAMBHU MA­HARAJ, the youngest of the trio, is still re­mem­bered for his mes­meris­ing mime and singing abil­i­ties. He taught in Delhi for many years and is sur­vived by his sons, Ram­mo­han and Kishen­mo­han Ma­haraj. 8. BIRJU AND JAIK­IS­HAN MA­HARAJ, son and grand­son of Achch­han Ma­haraj. Birju has dom­i­nated the kathak scene since the 1960s as a per­former and also as a teacher. He continues to per­form and teach all over the world even to­day. Jaik­is­han is a chip off the same block.

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