Padma Shri awardee Ramchandra Manjhi, whose performance in Bhojpuri folk dance ‘Naach’ for eight decades, has passed away. He was a famous performer of ‘Launda Naach’, a sub-set of ‘Naach’, in which men crossdress as women. His passion for the dance form even in old age has brought him several honours, including Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2017) and Padma Shri (2021).
Born in Saran district in Bihar in 1925, Manjhi was the last scion of the legendary Bhikhari Thakur’s ‘Naach’ form of folk dance. He was one of the members of the original troupe of Bhikhari Thakur, known as Shakespeare of Bhojpuri language. Manjhi was presently associated with the Saran-based Bhikhari Thakur Repertory Training & Research Centre, a troupe run by Jainendra Dost, a filmmaker and a renowned artist.