Tuesday 25 November 2014

Cutting Chai with Bhawana Somaaya - Day 486

Nritya Smragini quits kingdom

As long as she lived Kathak queen Sitara Devi made every admirer of her feel special. It was the way she moved on the stage and her spell lasted for a lifetime. Born in 1920 Sitara Devi was just 12 years old when a dance director cum filmmaker saw her perform pheras on stage and met up her parents and signed her for a dance sequence in Usha Haran released in the thirties. Success came early to dancer Sitara Devi.

She was just 16 and performing on stage when Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was in the audience and was so mesmerized by her performance that he bestowed a title on her as India’s Nritya Samragini. Sitara Devi got married to KAsif director of Mughal-e-Azam and continued performing Kathak shows all over the world. She continued to work in films whenever there was an opportunity for a great dance and her last recital on screen was a holi dance where she appears in the role of a boy in 1957 release Mother India.

For a long time Sitara Devi was confined to bed and for the past many weeks she was on a ventilator. On Tuesday 25 November the talented dancer breathed her last. The country has lost the queen of dancers.

Bhawana Somaaya/ Tweets - @bhawanasomaaya

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