Gitanjali Lal

Gitanjali Lal

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Category: Art

Gitanjali Lal Profile

  • Name:
  • Gitanjali Lal
  • Father:
  • Rajnikant Desai
  • Spouse:
  • Durga Lal

Gitanjali Lal Biography

Gitanjali Lal is a renowned classical dancer associated with Kathak dance form. She is a senior guru of the Kathak Kendra and a well-known choreographer too. She is the wife of renowned Kathak artist, Pandit Durga Lal of Jaipur Gharana, a recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri and also Sangeet Natak Akademi Award given by Government of India. Her brother-in-law Pandit Devi Lal is also a renowned Kathak dancer. Pandit Durga Lal passed away in his early 40s in year 1990, and he has worked in Kathak Kendra as a teacher for Kathak dance form.


Gitanjali Lal was born in Baroda into a musical family. Her father, Rajnikant Desai was a Professor of SNDT College, Mumbai. He was a vocalist, and a disciple of Ustad Faiyaz Khan. Later when he was posted in Srinagar as Principal of the Institute of Music and Fine Arts, Srinagar, the whole family also relocated to the new place. Since young she was encouraged by her father to study dance forms. She also took training in Hindustani music from her father. In the late 1960s, she got opportunity to play the female lead in the first Kashmiri color film, Shayar-e-Kashmir Mahjur opposite Parikshit Sahni. She also got opportunity to share screen space with the veteran Bollywood actor, Balraj Sahni for the movie. Later Gitanjali continued with her dance career.


Gitanjali gave her first stage performance at the age of 9, and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was among the audience who watched her maiden show. Quite interestingly, Zakir Hussain, as a boy played tabla for Gitanjali’s performance. She completed B.A. in music in Srinagar. She also learnt Santoor under Mohammad Aziz while at Mumbai, and received Bharathnatyam training too. As a solo artist, she gave her first performance in 1970 in New Delhi’s Sapru House auditorium. Shortly she met the brothers Devi Lal and Durga Lal who performed there. She married Durga Lal in 1973, and continued with her learning and performances after that.

Published: September 12, 2018

Updated: September 12, 2018

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