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Fitting tribute

Sudipta Chanda  | New Delhi |

Very few of us know that Sitara Devi had a very close connection with Bengal. She was born and brought up in Kolkata was very fluent in Bengali. At a tender age she got the chance to perform in front of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan. After watching her perform Tagore offered her some gifts while she requested for something which was eternal. Finally, he blessed her with the title queen of kathak.
Then she joined film industry, earned adequate stardom but didn’t continue in the long run. She made her film debut with ‘Usha Haran’ in 1940 and appeared in films like Roti, Anjali, Mother India and so on. She left films soon after to follow her passion for Indian classical dance. 
She was fortunate to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, was given the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padma Shree, Kalidas Samman but she refused to take Padma Bhusan, as she once said, “”is this government not aware of my contribution to Kathak? I will not accept any award less than Bharat Ratna.”
Coming back to the event Smaran 2016 , it featured the performances of  exponents from Delhi- Amit Khinchi (disciple of Pt. Rajendra Gangani ) & Subhi Johri ( student of  Pt. Jay Kishan Maharaj ).But the main performances was offered by both  artists who are the grandsons of  Sitara Devi Vishal Krishna (Kathak exponent) & Kushal Krishna (tabla exponent ) from Benaras. Other performers included Anasua Majumdar, Gargi Mukherjee, Rudrani Konar from Kolkata with their exciting presentations. Danseuse Alokananda Roy was the chief guest, and two other special exponents Chitra Bishwanathan from Mumbai and Saraswati Rajathesh from Bangalore were the special guests. Vishal Krishna felicitated all of them on behalf of Kalindi Darpan.
Next, a short documentary on Sitara Devi was screened which featured her interviews, film clips, rare photographs and so on. It was about her journey into the film industry, her global connection as cultural ambassador, and as a mentor to Bollywood stars, and also her many achievements.