Kathak legend Sitara Devi is dead at 94

Mumbai (IANS): Eminent danseuse Sitara Devi, who once impressed Rabindranath Tagore with a three-hour solo recital, died here Tuesday after prolonged illness, her family said. She was 94. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled her rich contribution to Kathak.

Sitara Devi was on ventilator at the Jaslok Hospital here and her condition became serious Monday.

“She (Sitara Devi) is no more. Her funeral will take place Thursday morning. We are waiting for her son who has gone abroad for a show,” her son-in-law Rajesh Mishra told IANS.

Sitara Devi was earlier admitted to the Cumballa Hill Hospital and Heart Institute.

The danseuse is survived by a son and a daughter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled her death and “recalled her rich contribution to Kathak”, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet.

A recipient of prestigious awards like Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma Shri and Kalidas Samman, Sitara Devi was born Dhannolakshmi in the family of Brahmin ‘kathakar’ Sukhdev Maharaj in Kolkata in 1920.

When she turned 11, the family moved to Mumbai, where she impressed Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore with a three-hour solo recital.

Over the next six decades, she became a Kathak legend and is known as a pioneering force in bringing the genre to Bollywood.