Kathak is one of the important forms of Indian classical dance forms. The term is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Katha’ which means story. Thus, a Kathak dancer is the one who tells a story through the dance form. Kathak dance evolved extensively in Jaipur, Banaras, and Lucknow. One of the most popular Kathak dancers of yesteryears is Lachhu Maharaj.
Pandit Bajinath Prasad, also known as Pandit Lachhu Maharaj, was an Indian classical dancer. He was also a choreographer of Kathak dance. He was born on October 16, 1901. Today marks the 118th birth anniversary of the artiste. Lachhu Maharaj came from a family of Kathak experts. He received his training in Kathak dance from his father, Kalka Prasad, uncle Bindadin Maharaj and elder brother, Achhan Maharaj for almost ten years. He is best known for his work as a choreographer in notable Bollywood films like Mahal, Mughal-e-Azam, Chhoti Chhoti Baten, and Pakeezah. He is also the founder of Kathak Kendra. The institute was started by the Uttar Pradesh government in Lucknow.
Lachhu Maharaj has also trained in the Pakhawaj, the Tabla and Hindustani Classical vocal music. He was also awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1957. It is the highest award for performing artists in India. The award is conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama.
In September 2007, a two-day festival was organised for Lachhu Maharaj’s centenary birth anniversary. The event was attended by his disciples and his wife, Rama Devi. A book based on the Kathak legend was also released during the event. The students of Kathak Kendra also performed a ballet, Megh Malhar.
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