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Birju Maharaj: The Master Through My Eyes

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Saswati Sen was born to a family of doctors and took to dance at an early age. Her initial training was received at Delhi’s Kathak Kendra under the guidance of Reba Vidyarthi. She received the National Scholarship in Performing Arts from the Ministry of Culture and graduated to become Pandit Birju Maharaj’s leading disciple. Over the years, Saswati has embellished Kathak by bringing to this dance form a traditional as well as a contemporary approach. She has performed at the RIMPA (Ravi Shankar Institute for Music and Performing Arts) festival in Varanasi, the Kathak Prasang in Bhopal and Jaipur and the prestigious Khajuraho Festival of Dance, among others. Recipient of the Sanskriti Award, the Shringhar Mani Award and the Critics Award, Saswati is considered one of the best exponents of the famed Lucknow Gharana. She is the driving force behind Kalashram, Pandit Birju Maharaj’s dream institution. She also teaches Kathak.

Saswati Sen has known Pandit Birju Maharaj for over forty-five years. Gradually, she began to see the divinity in her talented master and decided to write a book on his life and work. Birju Maharaj: The Master Through My Eyes presents layers of the Kathak maestro’s personality as witnessed by one of his foremost disciples.It reveals how this icon of Indian dance, who is a mentor for thousands and an inspiration for countless people across the globe, is actually an unassuming, simple person outside his artistic world. Accompanied by rare and delightful photographs, this book, the author’s dream project, is a heartfelt tribute to the legendary Birju Maharaj—a man who, among his many achievements, spread awareness of Kathak, not only in India, but abroad, while touching innumerable lives along the way.

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