Kathak legend Sitara Devi Passes away

Kathak queen and legend Sitara Devi passed away. She was 94. She was living legend and a renowned exponent of the classical Indian dance Kathak and was well known for her own niche style of Kathak.
About Sitara Devi

  • Sitara Devi was born in Kolkata in 1920. After her birth she was named as Dhanalakshmi, and called as Dhanno.
  • She was renamed as Sitara-the star by her father after she impressed her teachers and the local media with her Kathak performance in a dance drama, ‘Savitri Satyavan’ in Kolkatta.
  • Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore described her as Nritya Samragini– the empress of dance, after watching her performance when she was just 16 years old.
  • Bollywood career: At the age of 12 she started performing dances in various Bollywood films. She has danced in Bollywood films like Usha Haran, Nagina, Roti, Vatan, and Anjali. In 1957, she performed her last dance in Mother India. She stopped performing dances in movies as it was adversely affecting her passion for excelling in the classical dance Kathak.
  • International performances: She has given performances in several parts of India, and in several other countries, including at the Royal Albert Hall, London in 1967 and at the Carnegie Hall, New York in 1976.
  • Blending the elements of two schools of Kathak: She played important role in blending the elements of two schools of Kathak, one which was developed in Banares (east Uttar Pradesh) and one from Lucknow (Oudh or north Uttar Pradesh) and represented a forgotten era of Kathak.
  • Personnel life: She was married to K. Asif, director of Bollywood epic Mughal-e-Azam and then to Pratap Barot.
  • Awards: Over the years, she has been conferred a number of awards for her life-time contribution to Kathak. They are
  1. 1969- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
  2. 1973- Padma Shree.
  3. 1995- Kalidas Samman.
  4. Nritya Nipuna.
  5. 2011- Legends of India Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the classical dance genre for over six decades.

Kathak, which literally means ‘katha’, is a narrative drama which has evolved out from ancient times. It is one of the eight forms of Indian classical dance.



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