Friday, July 31, 2009

DR. SITARA DEVI:A UNIQUE KATHAK DANCER OF BANARAS GHARANA

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COVER OF HER KATHAK LP-RECORD
SITARA JI
HER AUTOGRAPHED SNAP
A COMPOSED SNAP
SITARA JI BEING HONOURED BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA IN 2009
video Recently in July 2009,President of India honoured Dr. Smt. सितारा  देवी  with संगीत  नाटक  अकादेमी  फेलोशिप  अवार्ड  for her great contribution in the development of KATHAK form of dancing.
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'.
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Here is a 'snake-dance' number from Chetan Anand's  film 'ANJAJI' in which she played as the mother of heroine Nimmi.

2 comments:

ashutosh said...

well... this was a question of a competitive exam in 2009. Why was Sitara Devi in the news that days?

Anonymous said...

wowo i love sitara devi ji she was given me award SINGAR MANI