Noted Chhau dancer Dhananjoy Mahato dies at 85
Kolkata: Noted Chhau dancer Dhananjoy Mahato has died of cardiac arrest at his residence in West Bengal's Purulia district, his family members said on Monday.
He was 85.
Mahato, known for taking the centuries-old folk dance form of Purulia district to the world, died at his Belgara village on Sunday evening, they said.
He is survived by his wife and son, who is also a Chhau dancer.
Popularly known as Dhunda Mahato, he had established a unique Chhau dance form combining different elements like aggression and surrender, joy and sorrow into one single composition.
Mahato inherited the passion for Chhau dance from his father Pelaram Mahato.
He dropped out of school and started practicing Chhau at the age of 13.
Mahato followed the classical form of Chhau dance, using accompanying musical instruments such as dhamsa and shenai during his seven decades-long career.
He believed using the acoustic effects of instruments like a synthesizer will dilute the 'earthiness' of his art.
Mahato had received awards from the Adivasi Lok Sanskriti Bikash Parishad, West Bengal Veterinary Association and Manbhum Dalit Sahitya o Sanskriti Akademi.
He, however, had not received any major recognition from the West Bengal and central governments despite being a household name in the Chhau circles in the state and elsewhere.