The #Diva- one & only #SitaraDevi ji #nrityasamragyi; #Queen of #kathak


The moment you see Sitara Devi ji here in every frame the bright spirit comes alive.

Not only for women’s day but for my respect and remembrance I thought to “google” some images of our great Artist. From thousands of images I could select few and copied and pasted here. sitara3

I wish i can write a small booklet on her. Each frame tells a story. That story I will imagine and try to write  in my way. But for now, on women’s day, she is the true symbol to pay respect towards her (an untiring spirit of a woman).

I had seen her programs on Doordarshan all black and white broadcast from Lucknow Doordarshan Kendra during 1980s. I wish all are available in doordarshan archives? Similar programs of GopiKrishna were also telecasted.

I am not the only one who is in awe of her. The famous Dance critic writer Sunil Kothari said about her “Sitara was exceptionally talented. Full of energy and infectious spirit, her dance cast a spell on audiences, not for the nazakat (delicacy) and khubsoorti (beauty) the Lucknow gharana was known for, but for her electrifying Kathak. Sitara’s endearing way of speaking to the audience, be it in Motihari village in Bihar, or Carnegie Hall in New York, won her the affection of connoisseurs and lay people. She was a law unto herself.?       These words sum up about her in little.

The moment Sitara Devi ji used to come on stage, whole of stage seemed to be electrified.

Although SitaraDevi ji hailed from a Brahmin family, where it was a social stigma on dancing by girls of such families. But due to encouragement from her Father and guru Pt Sukhdev Maharaj, she got opportunity to learn Kathak Dance from her elder sisters Tara ji, who was mother of Natraj GopiKrishna ji. Another elder sister was Alakhnanda ji who was also a famous kathak performer of her time. I think she died nearly in 1984 ??? i dont remember exact year. But when I went to BHU to appear in an examination there i had read in a news paper that Alakhnanda ji was seriously ill and ailing in a hospital. Since I had gone to BHU to appear in an examination and i could imagine how my parents and relatives could have reacted had I requested them to take me to that hospital just to see Alakhnanda ji?? that is situation in our society. Then imagine what hardship these ladies, these legendary stars, had to face during their childhood in 1920s or 1930s?


Eldest sister of SitaraDevi ji Smt Alaknanda Devi ji
Sitara Devi ji was a permanent star attendance at most famous Holi Dhamal of RK Studio,.

pic 1



Has anyone thought that a  LP record of a classical dancer will be brought out in those times? HMV might have thought of her popularity among people of India for her singing and dancing capabilities.

Sitara Ji always loved the brighter side of life, i think that shows her positive attitude towards life. the zeal to live life to its fullest.sit1  sit6

sit10Dilip saheb considered as her sister? She was married to the husband of his sister, thus by our indian traditions She was his sister? we had great traditions in India. Till recently Sitara ji visited Dilip Kumar saheb ji on Rakhsabandhan, to tie Rakhi.

Sitara ji married at her own terms. Sitara Devi was married to Nazir Ahmed Khan then to K. Asif and then to Pratap Barot. K Asif was brother of wife of Nazir Ahmed Khan.


sitara3 (1)

In this age Dr Sitara Devi ji came up on stage and people sought her blessings, at Sur Singar Sansad. Here daughter of Sitara Devi Ji Smt JayantiMala presented her dance. After Sitara Devi ji and Gopi Krishna ji there is no one who can bear the Torch of Banaras Gharana of Kathak. I mean that charm and majesty which these star dancers carried will be missed.

queen of kathak   pic old   sitara 13

Each and every frame depicts her as lively persona






in filmssitara15sitara10




     sitara-naushad-suraiyatwo pics

few of videos are in other blog 


This particular image is enough to describe her untiring spirit and ever ready to dance. She was on wheel chair and still performed on stage at a function organised in memory of women empowerment !!! is it not a symbol of untiring spirit.



Program of Dance on Doordarshan

National Program of Dance- Doordarshan
I accidently switched on the TV it was national channel. Two ladies were dancing. The music was sounding like Hindustani. The attire of both the dancers was just replica of what dancers of Kathak Kendra or dancers at Delhi wear. They have popularized this dress all over the India.
Then suddenly I heard a song in somewhat sounding like Odissi language. Then after listening for few minutes it certainly sounded like Assamese. First there was a thumri in Hindi, then some portion sounded like verses of any gazal. Then I heard the famous thumri, on which late Pt Durgalal once performed on TV. This imaginative creation caught my attention. This is a good example how one can crate beautiful things. There was Thumri, there was abhinay. The dancer duo were looking sisters, as I guessed. But I was proved right when their names were flashed on the tv screen. Earlier in many programs I had never seen names flashed as they did in this program. Their names were Aligunjan and Chandrani Kalita. Names were very unusual to me.
The duo had selected the attire of Delhi Kathak. But they changed the fabric and color of dress,. This duo from Assam did choose some heavy designed fabrics and with heavy colors.
The background was very simple and minimalist. At first I thought they are dancing in some library kind of place. In background some almirah with glass panes were there. In between the design (painting) of pillars with very minimum engraving stood. The Lord Natraj were there standing at the last point of the floor. When dancers were dancing and trying to utilize the space then they reached at the last point of the stage, almost stepping on to the lord’s image. That means the space was less for their dance.
Choreography was also lacking synchronization/coordination at some points. I thought in my mind that this dance must have been choreographed by these dancers themselves and not by their guru- whoever guru was(I don’t know). Many steps lack imagination and looked very animated, As if not coming naturally.
While dancing for a tarana at Kamani Auditorium New Delhi for the annual function of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi, my guru (Smt Prerna Srimali) told us that synchronization is very much important in a group performance. If two dancer take a chakkar on one side and the third takes it in different side or one more or one less then whole impact of the group gets lost. Same thing came to my mind when one dancer was missing some steps and trying to match with the other dancer on many steps. That looked many times awkward. I know since it has happened with me also many times on stage.
Then in last they danced on teen tal, but on TV screen the spelling was “Tin Tal Drut lay” Both danced quite well. Initially I was thinking that they belonged to the school of Khairagarh.
Do you know who is credited to have started this school. If I am correct, Kudau Singh has been credited for it. He was a Pakhawaj player. As I read somewhere that when he was jailed for some time, he practiced the pakhawaj playing on the pillars. And his strong fingers made dints in the pillars. That was the impact of strength and grit and determination, strict discipline of practice.