Earlier today we lost one of the biggest icons of Hindi film industry. Bollywood’s beloved Saroj Khan passed away this morning due to cardiac arrest at the Guru Nanak Hospital in Mumbai. The legendary dance choreographer was 71 years old. Saroj ji was a gentle and jovial soul with a million dollar smile. There is no better way to tribute a legend of her caliber and impact than rejoicing the legacy she left behind. Many of her iconic movies are remembered for their song and dance sequences. She was the brain and the force behind transforming a simple song, to something people celebrate and remember, around the world and across ages.
From her first movie Geeta Mera Naam in 1974 to Kalank in 2018, Saroj Khan has been a living embodiment of versatility and genius. A rare talent with impeccable command over her craft, she was every actor’s dream choreographer. Her appropriate understanding of the varied abilities of different performers allowed her to equip them with suitable choreography. And that worked precisely in favor of the performance and the performer as well. It is the same ability of hers that worked like magic on actors and performers of different generations. Or else, how is it possible to work with stars of different generations without failing one single time? From Helen, Sridevi, Madhuri to Shilpa, Kajol, Aishwarya, Kareena, Kangana, Sonakshi she rewarded them all with their most iconic dance numbers of all time. One should also note that with different leagues of performers come different ages of audiences. It is an unmanageable task to keep up with their changing tastes. But Saroj Khan kept doing it with the same ease and grace that one can find emulating from her choreographies.
Masterji, as she was fondly referred to, was a strict teacher yet like a mother figure for many. Several of the industry’s actresses owe their dancing careers to her especially, Madhuri Dixit. The world has felt the warmth of the beautiful teacher- student relationship they share. Madhuri on multiple occasions has expressed her gratitude of being taught by Master ji and how blessed she considers herself. And it is the result of their wonderful chemistry that has given us multiple gems like Ek do teen (Tezaab), Humko aaj kal hai (Sailaab), Choli ke peeche kya hai (Khalnayak), Dhak dhak karne laga (Beta), Tamma tamma loge (Thaanedaar), Chane ke khait mein (Anjaam), Mera piya ghar aaya (Yarana), Dola re dola (Devdas) and Tabah ho gaye hum (Kalank).
During Saroj ji’s career, that spanned over four decades, she went on to bagging several iconic movies like Chandni, Mr. India, Darr, Baazigar, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, Taal, Baazigar, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Lagaan, Fiza, Guru, Jab We Met, ABCD, Manikarnika and many more. Irrespective of the film’s fortune at the box office, her choreography was always appreciated. She received 3 National and 8 Filmfare and numerous other awards during her work-life
Masterji inspired young girls to become dancers and choreographers. The magic she spelled with her art is unmatched. She was an institution in herself and the void that has been created with her demise can never be filled. She will always be remembered as the person who gave the true meaning to the word ‘Choreographer’. She might have left us but her legacy will live on.
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