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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Sitara Devi biopic in the works: Here’s everything to know about the Kathak danseuse

Over a career spanning six decades, Sitara Devi revived Kathak, and also inspired several other young girls and women to take a stand for themselves

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
November 9, 2021 6:20:11 pm
Sitara Devi, who was Sitara Devi, life of Sitara Devi, Sitara Devi awards, Sitara Devi achievements, Sitara Devi biopic, Sitara Devi Kathak dancer, indian express newsThe danseuse had even once refused the Padma Bhushan award, country's third-highest civilian award.

On the occasion of her 101st birth anniversary (November 8), a biopic on Kathak exponent Sitara Devi was announced. The film is likely to be produced by Raj C Anand of Raj Anand Movies, and Sitara Devi’s son musician Ranjit Barot will also be a part of the project, sharing insights into his mother’s life.

For the uninitiated, the late Sitara Devi was an eminent dancer — a master of the classical Kathak style — a singer, and also an actor. A recipient of several awards, she performed at many prestigious venues in India and around the world, including the Royal Albert Hall, London and the Carnegie Hall, New York.

Hailed as the Empress of Dance, in her lifetime she was conferred with Padma Shri, Kalidas Samman and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, among others.

Not many people know that the danseuse was born in Kolkata during the festival of Dhanteras. She was, therefore, named ‘Dhanalakshmi’, after Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, who is worshipped in the days leading up to Diwali.

When she had met Rabindranath Tagore — before his death — he had encouraged her to revive lost Indian performing arts, especially Kathak. While Devi’s family was always culturally-inclined, others viewed the dance form in a different light back then, for it was known to be performed by nautch girls or boys. Her father was excommunicated by elders of the community for teaching this dance form to his daughters and sons.

It has been understood that over a career spanning six decades, Devi revived Kathak and how, and also inspired several other young girls and women to take a stand for themselves. The danseuse had even once refused to accept the Padma Bhushan award, country’s third-highest civilian award.

She was quoted as telling PTI, “I will not accept any award less than Bharat Ratna. Little-known people who are younger than me have received Padma Vibhushan and I am being awarded Padma Bhushan. Is this the way to treat a leading artiste?”

The celebrated dancer passed away in 2014, on November 25 at a hospital in Mumbai. She had succumbed to age-related illness.

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