Contemporary Indian dancer Astad Deboo, known for amalgamating Indian and western dance techniques, died on Thursday, his family said. He was 73.
Deboo employed his training in Indian classical dance forms of Kathak as well as Kathakali to create a unique fusion dance form. “He left us in the early hours of December 10, at his home in Mumbai, after a brief illness, bravely borne,” the family announced on social media.
He leaves behind a formidable legacy of unforgettable performances combined with an unswerving dedication to his art, matched only by his huge, loving heart that gained him thousands of friends and a vast, number of admirers.
According to Padma Alva, a longtime friend of Deboo and a former PTI journalist, his funeral was a private affair due to the Covid-19 restrictions. “The funeral was held at Worli here at 11 am. It was a private funeral because of Covid restrictions. So only immediate family members were present,” Alva said.
Deboo is noted for creating a modern dance vocabulary that was uniquely Indian. His innovative style of Indian dance may have raised some eyebrows in the 1970s and 80s, but the 1990s saw people embrace this new idiom.
Actor Anupam Kher took to Twitter to pay tributes to the dance icon and wrote Deboo’s art would be missed. “World of modern dance has lost a pioneer and India has lost a cultural treasure. Dearest #AstadDeboo it was a privilege to know you. Will miss your art, warm persona and your infectious smile! Rest in peace my friend!!#OmShanti,” Kher said.
Filmmaker Nandita Das said Deboo had a lot of dance still left in him. “Just too sad. Knew him and admired him since I was a child. You still had so much to offer #AstadDeboo I have lost too many loved ones this year,” Das wrote.