Pt. Lachhu Maharaj, a prominent Kathak performer, has been well known for his quality and also recognized for the Indian classical dance. Pandit Lachhu Maharaj known by his full name the Pandit and represents the rich cultural tradition of India, which has a deep influence on all dancers-gurus-August teachers of Bharatanatyam from all over the world. In commemorating his contributions, we are reminded of the timeless elegance and influence of classical dance personified so impeccably by this iconic maestro.

In this blog, we will learn some interesting facts about Pt. Lachhu Maharaj. So, continue reading..

Lachhu Maharaj – the maestro even with his immaculate mastery in Kathak, he was a consummate musician. His proficiency in the tabla and harmonium added a powerful rhythmic dimension to his dance, lifting them to a level of their own.

Lachhu Maharaj before gaining fame in Bollywood had worked well at regional theatre moments, particularly in Varanasi and Lucknow. He expertly managed event scheduling for many local, cultural performances, developing unique mashups from classic dance forms with modern nuances in his choreography.

He was a pioneer in the field of Kathak, being the first to create dance dramas. He started using Kathak as a medium of expression and later with his expertise, he could make an entire mythological or historical sagas dance with his solo impersonation -developing each act into extensive theatrical performances. 

Further inspired by Sufi music and poetry, Lachhu Maharaj weaved Sufism into his performances engaging the spiritual decorum of the Sufi odyssey with Kathak’s rhythmic exactitude creating an effortlessly artistic blend.

Though Lachhu Maharaj is a huge name as the Bollywood lifestyle in terms of dance was shaped by him, what steps need to be done to tell choreography for what film and how he actually made us feel that way while dancing was something only seen in Satyajit Ray’s Bengali classic Jalsaghar (1958). It was evidence of his versatility and reached beyond the boundaries of mainstream cinema.

Some of the precious performances by dance maestro flowed in the royal courts of India, and Lachhu Maharaj’s talent glowed. He was a regular performer at the courts of the Maharajas of Jaipur and Baroda, where he attended critical accolade for his mesmerising recitals, enriching the royal patronage of Kathak.

Lachhu Maharaj, a legend who is well known for his work in movies of Bollywood also provided Choreography for dance sequences in the Bengali classic Jalsaghar (The Music Room) 1958, directed by Satyajit Ray. This shows off his adaptability and gave him a greater reach than just within the world of standard-fare film casting.

Lachhu Maharaj was truly a master of his art, having performed in the most prestigious royal courts of India. A regular performer of the Maharajas of Jaipur and Baroda, he was appreciated for dynamic performances and also for converting royal patronage in favour of Kathak from court musicians.

Lachhu Maharaj had a great insight into the beauty that is very much found in his performance in the field of costume design. The careful work in costuming, the devil in the detail approach to this aspect of productions, made his dance dramas visually richer, with an authenticity and grandeur.

Even though he was best known for his proficiency in the North Indian and Mughal styled Kathak, Lachhu Maharaj’s approach to abhinaya had a lasting impact on Kathakali too. This Kumaranunni’s innovative way of expression, inspired the Modern Kathakali dancers to cross its boundaries.

But what is evidently a less remembered homage to the life of Lachhu Maharaj comes by way of a documentary that explores his journey [in the arts]. We all know the general outline of Jacques Cousteau’s incredible life, but this documentary offers a more intimate portrait and some deeper looks at the philosophy behind his art.

The choreographic style created by Kathak Guru Lachhu Maharaj is one of the standards in today’s era of Kathak education. His innovative spatial, kinetic and narrative dimensions fuse along with pioneering creativity in choreography that continues to brave curious dancers decades after he passed away.