Pandit Birju Maharaj Birthday Special: Lesser-known facts about the dancing legend

Brijmohan Mishra, also known as Pandit Birju Maharaj was born on 4th February 1938 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh to Jagannath Maharaj. Also known as Acchan Maharaj, his father was a court dancer in Raigarh princely state.

Birju Maharaj received his Kathak training by his uncles Lachhu Maharaj and Shambhu Maharaj and his father Acchan Maharaj. Birju Maharaj took the family legacy forward by making a name in the world of classical dancing.

He gave his first stage performance when he was just seven years old. At thirteen years of age, Maharaj started teaching dancing at the Sangeet Bharti in New Delhi. He went on to train dance enthusiasts at the Bhartiya Kala Kendra.

Interestingly, Birju Maharaj is also a wonderful singer and musician. He exercised his vocals for the movie 'Shatranj ke Khiladi' which was directed by Satyajit Ray. Maharaj also choreographed the song 'Kaahe Ched Ched Mohe' in the Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit starrer 'Devdas'.

Birju Maharaj has won a number of awards for his art. He won National Film Award for Huzaif for the film Vishwaroopam. He has been awarded with Sangam Kala Award, Andra Ratna, Soviet Land Nehru Award, Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award and Padma Vibhushan to name a few.

The dancing legend wants to impart knowledge to the younger generations to spread the dance form as much as he can. He has opened his dance school 'Kalashram' in Delhi where people can learn from the legend and his disciples.

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