|COVER OF HER KATHAK LP-RECORD|
|HER AUTOGRAPHED SNAP|
|A COMPOSED SNAP|
|SITARA JI BEING HONOURED BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA IN 2009|
She belongs to बनारस घराना ऑफ़ कत्थक नृत्य ,which was originated by her father पंडित सुखदेव महाराज ऑफ़ बनारस.Perhaps in the year 1936-37 when she was only in her teens,seeing her wonderful dance performance Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore conferred her with the title of 'नृत्य सम्राज्ञी '. Now she has crossed the age of 90 years and still she is active in dancing.
I got opportunity of enjoying her live performances of kathak- dance,three times in the years of 1973 and 1974.One was performed in Ravindralaya,Lucknow and the other two were in Kanpur.Even today after so many years,I remember her artistry and finesse in kathak dancing which is unique.
The dance ballets 'द्रौपदी चीर हरण ','जटायु उद्धार ','कालिया मर्दन ' created by her, come alive with their each character played by सितारा देवी herself.She can keep the spectators spell bound for hours and hours, by her magnificent kathak-dance.I have seen people wiping their tears during her presentation of 'जटायु -उद्धार'.We get astonished on her calibre of very frequent mixing of the three characters of श्री कृष्ण ,द्रौपदी and दुस्साशन without any error in their facial expressions,in the climax part of 'द्रौपदी-चीर-हरण '.
She has a record of continuous dancing for more than 12 hours, in 'Birla Matushree Sabhagar',in Mumbai.She was honoured with the titles of पद्मश्री in the year 1973 and later with पद्मभूषण , by the President of India.She was also honoured with a Ph.D. Degree by the vice-chancellor of इंदिरा संगीत विश्वविद्यालय , खैरागढ़ ,मध्य-प्रदेश.
सितारा देवी has also acted in about 33 Hindi Films between the years 1938 and 1957 as heroine and also in supporting roles.She has also sung about 44 her own songs in the films. Some of her popular films were:वतन,बागबान (1938),पागल (1940),स्वामी (1941),दुःख-सुख ,कलयुग ,रोटी (1942),आबरू, अँधेरा ,छेड़ छाड़ ,नजमा ,भलाई, पगली,सलमा (1943),चाँद (1944),फूल (1945), हलचल (1951),लेख (1953),अंजलि (1957) etc.
Later she also gave'Dance-Direction' in some of the Hindi films like:कोहिनूर ,अमर ,हलचल ,अंजलि ,सावन को आने दो etc.
Famous Kathak dancer and film actor Late गोपीकृष्ण was the son of Sitara Devi's real elder sister तारा.I have mentioned her basic contribution in the making of V.Shantaram's famous film 'Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje' in my other article on this film .She still deserves more honours for her art.At present she is living with her daughters Jayantimala and Priyamala in Mumbai.I wish her to live more than 100 year's life.She is really a 'Bharat-Ratna'.
Here is a 'snake-dance' number from Chetan Anand's film 'ANJAJI' in which she played as the mother of heroine Nimmi.