Eminent Odissi Guru and cultural ambassador Harekrishna Behera passed away at AIIMS, New Delhi, on Sunday following a massive cardiac arrest. He was 81 and is survived by his wife Padmabati and three daughters __ Kavita Dwibedi, Kaveri and Kalyani.
Sources said Behera complained of chest pain and was admitted to the AIIMS where he breathed his last in the morning.
Considered the oldest Odissi exponent in New Delhi, Behera was born in Buani village in Balasore. He received the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2003. Behera was one among the first Gurus to take Odissi dance form to New Delhi in the early ‘60s and had founded Odissi Kendra there to popularise the rich classical dance among Delhiites.
For his significant contribution in the field, he received All India Critic’s Award in 1981 and Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1983. The prestigious Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award was also conferred on him.
Behera, also trained in Odissi music, had many compositions to his credit in Pallabi, Abhinaya and Mangalacharan. He also choreographed several dance dramas combining classical Odissi with folk dance forms.
With scholarships from the Culture Ministry and the Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi, the exponent had also learnt Kathak from Pandit Birju Maharaj, pakhawaj from Shri Purushottam Das and Thumri from Late Sidheswari Devi.