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Eminent Personalities Honoured with Prestigious Pandit Lacchu Maharaj Award

Noted Hindi film superstars Hema Malini and Saira Banu, along with other prominent personalities from the fields of art and culture, will be honoured with the prestigious Pandit Lacchu Maharaj Award. The award ceremony will take place on 31 August 2024 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

10 eminent personalities to be awarded the Lacchu Maharaj award 

The Lacchu Maharaj Award, Instituted in memory of the famous kathak exponent Lacchu Maharaj, was not given after 2014. Thus, the Pandit Lacchu Maharaj Ballet Foundation has decided to honour 10 personalities this year. No award has been announced for the year 2020 due to COVID-19. The awardees are:

Serial Number  Awardee Award for Year  Belongs to Place  Exponent of Dance form
1 Uma Sharma  2015 New Delhi Kathak
2 Rama Vaidyanathan  2016 New  Delhi Kathak
3 Uma Dogra  2017 Jaipur Kathak
4 Hema Malini  2018 Mumbai Kathak, Film actress
5 Saira Banu 2019 Mumbai Kathak, Film actress
6 Sandhaya Puricha, Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi 2018 Mumbai Bharatanatyam Exponent
7 Dr. Malabika   Mitra  2021 Kolkata Kathak
8 Prachi Shah 2022 Mumbai Kathak, Film actress
9 Ashim Bandhu Bhattacharya  2023 Mumbai Kathak
10 Pandit Rajendra Gangani  2024 Jaipur Kathak

Reviving a Celebrated Tradition

The decision to honor these esteemed individuals was taken during a meeting held at Bhatkhande Sanskriti University, Lucknow, presided over by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Mandavi Singh. The meeting was attended by the secretary of the Pt. Lachhu Maharaj Ballet Foundation and senior disciple of Pandit Lachhu Maharaj, Kumkum Adarsh.

Honoring a Decade of Excellence

The Pandit Lacchu Maharaj Ballet Foundation has decided to honor ten personalities this year, as the award was not given after 2014. The esteemed awardees, spanning various years from 2015 to 2024, represent the pinnacle of artistic excellence in fields such as Kathak, Bharatanatyam, and cinema.

Celebrating Kathak Legends

Among the awardees are renowned Kathak exponents like Uma Sharma (2015), Rama Vaidyanathan (2016), Uma Dogra (2017), and Pandit Rajendra Gangani (2024). Film actresses Hema Malini (2018) and Saira Banu (2019), both accomplished Kathak dancers, will also be honored for their remarkable contributions.

Recognizing Artistic Brilliance

Other notable awardees include Sandhaya Puricha, Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi (2018), a Bharatanatyam exponent; Dr. Malabika Mitra (2021), a Kathak maestro; Prachi Shah (2022), a Kathak dancer and film actress; and Ashim Bandhu Bhattacharya (2023), a Kathak exponent.

Honoring the Legacy of Lacchu Maharaj

The Pandit Lacchu Maharaj Award is named after the legendary Kathak exponent, Lacchu Maharaj (1907-1978), who was born Baij Nath Prasad in Lucknow. He is renowned for choreographing Kathak dance sequences in iconic films like Mahal, Mughal-e-Azam, and Pakeezah, as well as numerous ballets.

As these eminent personalities are honoured with the Pandit Lacchu Maharaj Award, it serves as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of India and the enduring legacy of artistic excellence that continues to inspire generations.

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