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Chhau artiste Nepal Mahato passes away at 66

Kolkata: Eminent Chhau artiste from Purulia Nepal Mahato passed away at a private hospital in Cuttack on March 16.

The 66-year-old Padmashree recipient is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. Mahato's death is an irreparable loss to the Chhau art. Not only Mahato had made the dance popular, he was the key figure to take the troupe in the international arena. He was awarded Padmashree in 1983.

Nepal Mahato was born in a remote village called Adabona. He was interested in Chhau from his childhood.

He has taken his first training on the martial art, Chhau when he was just 10 years old. He set up his Chhau team in 1974-75 and claimed fame with his artistic performance. Mahato evolved different styles within Purulia Chhau by guiding his team in Shaivism martial art of tribal Chhau form. His latest variation in the dance of lion created huge response and made the Mahishasurmardini part famous. His innovations took Chhau dance to a different level.

He took his troupe to England, Canada, France, Switzerland, Thailand and Russia. Mahato also served as expert in the ministry of Culture.

His two sons Subrata and Sougata and grandson are eminent chhau artistes in his team.

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