King of Kathak and veteran dance guru Pandit Birju Maharaj was felicitated and presented Swarna Kamalam at the inaugural of the weeklong music festival being conducted by Visakha Music and Dance Academy here on Saturday.

The 75-year-old maestro belonging to Lucknow Kalka-Bindabin gharana was conferred VMDA National Eminence Award carrying a golden lotus, citation and Rs.1 lakh by Paripoornananda Saraswati Swamy of Sripeetham at a function here at Kalabharati auditorium. His brief demonstration of his talent through a presentation mesmerised the art lovers present at the function.

Complimenting profusely for his contribution to promote dance, the Swamy said Pandit Birju Maharaj had contributed a lot for promoting music and dance.

He said there were 124 forms of dances.

Chairman and managing director of Vaibhav Group Grandhi Mallika Manoj gave away the golden lotus to the legend, Vaibhav Group has been the sponsor for the award function since 2002.

‘Multi-faceted’

Former Mayor D.V. Subba Rao said Pandit Birju Maharaj had not only trained many maestros but also successfully contributed to the film industry. He had his mark felt by choreographing dance sequences in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Shatranj ki Khiladi’ and had done a commendable job in the latest Kamal Hassan’s multi-lingual spy thriller ‘Viswaroopam.’

Among others, VMDA founder president C.S.N. Raju, international chairman of World Teachers’ Trust K. Parvati Kumar and VMDA trustee Rambabu were present.

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