HYDERABAD: Celebrating the Kathak doyen, Padma Vibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj’s 80th birth year, Akrithi Kathak Kendra organised a special felicitation and a dedication on Wednesday. Following the auspicious tradition of lighting the lamp by Birju Maharaj himself, the show took off as a full-house at Ravindra Bharathi.
The show opened with Madhav Raj Bhatt’s tabla prowess where he took the stage to showcase his skills. Following that, Mangala Bhatt and Raghav Raj Bhatt, the founders of Aakruti Kathak Kendra presented a composition of Pandit Birju Maharaj himself which needed them to showcase flawless technique and expressions.
Pandit Birju Maharaj was then felicitated by his disciples as the crowd cheered on. Mangala and Raghav adorned the maestro with a garland and washed his feet in worship while rose petals fell from above. Speaking of Hyderabad Maharaj says, “Hyderabad, like Lucknow where I am from, is home,” he says. Saswathi Sen, who prides in calling herself the oldest disciple of Birju Maharaj – his pupil since 50 years, next took the stage. Even little ones no older than four were squealing in excitement as she recited thihaais (numbered rhythms) for a simple real life situation and performed them after. “Once we were distraught that we had to miss the hockey world cup for the dance class. Maharaj ji saw us and got our spirits up by composing a thihaai which portrayed the stroke, dribble and the goal in hockey,” she shares before showing up the bit.