Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, other celebrities mourn Saroj Khan's demise

Saroj Khan: The choreographer extraordinaire who transformed Hindi film dance

Saroj Khan in 2012. | STR AFP

She was admitted to Guru Nanak Hospital in Mumbai on June 20 after complaining of breathlessness. She tested negative for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Ace choreographer Farah Khan, who succeeded Saroj Khan as the most sought-after choreographer in Hindi cinema during the early '90s, opens up to Firstpost on the influence she had on her career. Coincidentally, Saroj Khan's last major assignment also happened to be with Madhuri, when previous year she choreographed the actress's moves for the song "Tabah ho gaye" in the film, "Kalank". One of Khan's most famous works was "Devdas", which premiered in Cannes in 2002, and where she worked with Dixit and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan. We have heard so many stories like when Kaante Nahin Kat te started there was no choreography, she went on the sets and designed the entire choreography.

Nimrat Kaur: Saroj ji's name introduced the word "choreographer" to my life. Even now, when she did Kalank, we looked up at the magic of Madhuri and Saroj ji coming together. When they cast me for the song, Saroj ji would come to the rehearsals and in fact in Nach Baliye, the first four episodes were done under her guidance for Krushna and me.

Saroj Khan in Howrah Bridge. Courtesy Shakti Films
Saroj Khan in Howrah Bridge. Courtesy Shakti Films

Saroj Khan nurtured several choreographers in the Hindi film industry. She also directed Kareena Kapoor Khan's moves in Yeh Ishq Haye, the song from Jab We Met. I got to learn so much from her, especially the expressions.

On hearing about the unfortunate news of Khan's demise, Madhuri paid a tribute to her on social media. Saroj Khan choreographed many super-duper hit songs which comprise of Hawa Hawai, Chandni, Tezaab, Tamma Tamma Loge, Dhak Dhak Karne Laga and Gulaab Gang. Her dance is just iconic and forces every person to match footstep on this chartbuster song. She not only highlighted the emotions of the song but also contributed to the characterisation of the protagonists. Sridevi shakes her booty on the rhythm of the exhausting song. She had seen me dance, and asked me whether I want to join her team.

For those unversed, it was back in 2012 when Saroj Khan who also is fondly known as "Masterji", made her appearance in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah as a guest judge. So I told her Ma'am you have made the song so hard, how will I do it.

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