Google on Wednesday marked the birth anniversary of Kathak legend Sitara Devi with a doodle. She was born as Dhannolakshmi on November 8, 1920, to Kathak dancer and Sanskrit scholar Sukhdev Maharaj and his wife Matsya Kumar in Kolkata. Maharaj was a Kathakar or an early Kathak dancer, PTI reported.
By the age of 10, she was giving solo performances. Her family moved to Mumbai a few years later where Devi continued her training and started teaching others. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, impressed with her performance at one of her shows, offered her a shawl and a citation for Rs 50. Devi, then 16, refused to accept it and asked him for his blessings instead, PTI reported. The poet described her as Nritya Samragini.
Sitara Devi composed many kathak pieces, including todas and parans. She used to encourage her students to incorporate ideas from other dance forms, including ballet, tango and tap dance, her niece Jayanti Mala had said.
She received several awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1969 and the Padma Shree in 1973, during her career as a dancer, IANS reported.
She died at the age of 94 on November 25, 2014.