"Madhuri is an excellent dancer. She is in the same league with actresses like Waheeda Rehman and Meena Kumari as far as dancing is concerned. She dances with a lot of grace. I think she is the best dancer in Indian cinema after Waheeda Rehman. She reminds me of her," the Padma Vibhushan Kathak maestro said.
Birju Maharaj and the 46-year-old actress will soon perform a special jugalbandi act on the dance reality show 'Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa', which will have Kathak piece on the song 'Piya Tose Naina Lage Re'. The 75-year-old legendary dancer has choreographed Madhuri in films 'Dil To Pagal Hai' (DTPH), 'Devdas' and most recently did a song for her upcoming film 'Dedh Ishqiya'.
Asked about his experience of working with Madhuri, he said that she is a quick learner and always tries to excel. "I worked with her for the first time in 1997 for a dance sequence where actor (Shah Rukh) is playing the drum in another room and she dances on those beats. "It has been more than 15 years but her dedication towards dance is the same. She grabs quickly and is a genius dancer. Her expressions are just perfect," said Birju Maharaj.
On item songs replacing classical dance numbers in Bollywood, he said that this is the reason people still love old songs. "Who can forget Waheeda Rehman in 'Guide' or Meena Kumari in 'Pakeezah'. We don't get to see Kathak or other classical dance based songs in cinema today and that is the reason people still love to watch old songs.
Madhuri has kept the tradition of classical dance in cinema alive. Be it Devdas's 'Kahe Ched Mohe' or dance sequence of 'DTPH', she has performed brilliantly," said the National Award-winning choreographer.