Sunday, July 8, 2018


                                 ( Sitara Devi with Poet Sahir Ludhianavi )
                                   ( With Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia )
                                                            ( With Dilip Kumar )
                      ( With Lata Ji And Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib )


She danced like lightning. She danced almost all forms of classical dances and also learnt Russian ballet. She was given a shawl and citation for Rs 50 by Gurudev Tagore, who was deeply impressed with her performance at the Atiya Begum Palace and called her 'Nritya Samragini'. Sitara Devi refused to accept this gift, instead asking for Tagore's blessings. Other dignitaries who attended this show were Sarojini Naidu and Sir Cowasji Jehangir.

Sitara Devi performed Kathak at a time when people considered dancing an unholy profession for girls. Sukhdev Maharaj, her father fought against all odds and taught his children the traditional ancient art of Kathak in a bid to keep the tradition alive. He was even exiled by the community for doing so but he never gave up. The family moved from Kolkata to Varanasi  where  Sukhdev Maharaj established  a school to train children in  Kathak. He was an established Kathak dancer.

. Sitara Devi believed in  "never say die", dancing and enjoying life to the fullest till her last day.She lived life on her own terms and died at a ripe age of 94 . Sitara Devi was fond of chewing paan  and  smoking bidis . Her family  did not like all this, yet she continued to  indulge in these  pursuits in her old age as well. A Tomboy during her youth, she would swim, ride bikes, drive cars and join  parties . 

Sitara Devi was a great admirer  poet Sahir Ludhianavi. She is believed to have performed a mesmerising Kathak dance on Sahir's song "Aage teri marzi". The song was written by Sahir for Devdas.   I am informed  that she had selected some more poems / songs of Sahir for her dance. She  wanted to enact these songs/ poems on stage  through dance. She even met Sahir many times to fully understand the underlying   sentiments and  emotions in these poems / song.

                      ( With Dilip Kumar)
               ( With Birju Maharaj)

She received standing ovations in almost all her overseas  performances including her  famous concers at the Royal Albert Hall, London and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

She passed away on November 25, 2014. On her death Birju Maharaj  said this : -

 “Sitara Devi  was a rare human being besides being a great dancer. There will not be anyone like her. What riyaaz, tapasya, practice she used to do. Today’s young generation will have to learn that from her. When she performed ‘Thumak chalat Ramachandra’ she would make us feel that mother Kaushalya was helping child Sri Rama taking baby steps."

( Avtar Mota )

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