Sunday, August 9, 2020

A Tribute To Saroj Khan: The Legendary Choreographer

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Indian choreographer Saroj Khan died on 3rd July 2020, due to cardiac arrest. She was admitted to the hospital one month back because she suffered from breathing problems. She tested for Covid-19, but her test results turned out to be negative. She was also a diabetic patient and had other age-related problems. She took her last breath at 1:52 am at Guru Nanak Hospital in Bandra.

Saroj Khan was an iconic choreographer. Don’t we all remember the hook steps of the songs she has choreographed? We have lost a lot of legendary celebrities like Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Wajid Khan, and Sushant Singh Rajput. The year 2020 has not been enjoyable and especially for the film industry. We have seen these celebrities entertain us in every way possible, and Saroj Khan was one of them without a doubt.

A Tribute to Saroj Khan

Saroj Khan was one of the most eminent choreographers in the Indian cinema. She has given us a lot of reasons to love Bollywood dance. We used to keep switching channels just to see the dance moves of Madhuri Dixit or Sridevi. The legendary Saroj Khan choreographed all those popular dance moves. With all that she has done for the industry, let us have a look at her journey and a lot more exciting things.

1. Her Birth and Family

Saroj Khan was born on 22nd November 1948 in Mumbai (then known as Bombay), Maharashtra. Her parents were Kishanchand Sadhu Singh and Noni Sadhu Singh. She belonged to a rich Pakistani family that later migrated to India during partition. Her birth name was Nirmala Nagpal which she later changed to Saroj Khan after embracing Islam.

She was 71 years old and was married to B. Sohanlal. She had three children Suknya/Sukaina Khan, Hamid Khan, and Hina Khan. She tied the knot with B. Sohanlal when she was 13. She did not know that Sohanlal was already married and was 41 years old. He had four children, and Saroj Khan was unaware of that.

Few years after their marriage, they parted ways. They both tried to mend things, but it could not work out because Sohanlal later moved to Chennai without Saroj Khan and the kids. By that time, Saroj Khan had already given birth to Hina Khan. After that, Saroj Khan lived alone with her children, and after receiving more fame, she got married to Sardar Roshan Khan, and Saroj Khan gave birth to the third child, Sukyna Khan. A Tribute To Saroj Khan: The Legendary Choreographer 1

2. Early Life

A lesser-known fact about Saroj Khan is that she started her career when she was three years old. She was a child artist in the movie Nazrana and had a prominent role to play as Shyama, and that is when she stepped her feet in the Bollywood industry. At such a young age, she started working and earning, but did the struggle end there? No, not really.

She worked as a female background dancer in the late 1950s. By the name Saroj Khan, we assume that everything in the industry must have been a cakewalk for her, but that is not the case at all. For years she struggled as a background dancer and worked hard to make her way.

She learnt dancing under the guidance of B. Sohanlal, who was a prominent film choreographer at that time. He was very well known for her choreography. She worked under his guidance even after they parted ways. She loved to dance even when she was a child, and her love for dance never got separated from her.

3. How She Paved Her Way in Bollywood

It is interesting to know how Saroj Khan started her career, considering she was an outsider and did not have a Godfather in this industry. She worked hard to pave her way in Bollywood, which was already overflowed with a lot of tough competitors.

Saroj Khan made her debut as a choreographer in the film Geeta Mera Naam. The film was released in 1974, and that is how she started her career as an independent choreographer. She did not get much recognition or appreciation at that time, but slowly and steadily, she made her presence felt in the industry.

After her first film, she had choreographed a lot of famous songs that people could not get their eyes off of. Saroj Khan collaborated with plenty of famous Bollywood stars and let us know what happened next.

4. Collaboration with Bollywood Celebrities

In her entire career, Saroj Khan has choreographed more than 2000 songs. When we think about it, it does seem like a large number. Saroj Khan has given a lot of hits in the industry, and people in the nation always remembered her steps.

She first started collaborating with Sridevi, and they made many amazing songs together. Few of their iconic collaborations include Kaate Nahi Katte from the movie Mr. India, Morni Bagha Maa from the movie Lamhe, Naa Jaane Kahan Se from the movie Chaalbaaz, Mere Haathon Mein from the movie Chandni, Hawa Hawaai also from the movie Mr. India. These were a few of the best dance songs they made together.

Saroj Khan started getting recognition after she collaborated with Sridevi and mostly from the iconic movie Mr. India. We all remember her association with one of the most well-known actresses in India, Madhuri Dixit. She joined hands with Madhuri Dixit to feature in many famous Bollywood songs in history.

Well, we all remember the iconic song Ek Do Teen which starred Madhuri Dixit. Madhuri Dixit was known for her amazing dance moves and guessed who had a significant contribution to this? It was Saroj Khan. Madhuri Dixit was already a well-known actress, but after the movie, Tezaab hit the theatres, people went crazy for her dance moves.

It was Saroj Khan who choreographed that song, and people used to go to the theatres more than once just to see Madhuri Dixit dance on that song. Saroj Khan gave credits to Madhuri Dixit for her success, and Madhuri Dixit considered Saroj Khan as her “Guru.”

That was the turning point for Saroj Khan and Madhuri Dixit both. For Madhuri Dixit, there was a lot of competition in the industry, and she wanted something to make her stand out, and Saroj Khan gave her that. For Saroj Khan, she started gaining more popularity because she was the one who made this dance moves. The last song that she choreographed was Tabaah Ho Gaye from the movie Kalank in 2019.

5. Her Entry in Small Screen

When she successfully kept her feet in Bollywood, everyone knew that Saroj Khan was here to stay. Every celebrity wanted their dance songs to be choreographed by her. She made a lot of Bollywood dance-moves, and later she entered the small screen industry.

The small screen industry was already bombarded with a lot of daily soaps and reality shows. But, she decided to jump into the small screen, and it turned out positively for her because she gained even more popularity. She was started knowing as the “Masterji” of the Bollywood industry.

She entered the small screen as a judge in the reality show Nach Baliye. She worked there for two seasons. After that, she also appeared as a judge in the show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa along with Juhi Chawla and Vaibhavi Merchant in the year 2009. People loved seeing her a judge because she used to give true and honest feedback to all the contestants. People loved reality shows back in the day and would hook to their television screens just to watch their favorite reality shows.

In the year 2008, she came up with her reality show called Nachle Ve with Saroj Khan. It started gaining immense popularity and was loved by a lot of people. Fair enough, everybody wanted to learn dance from Saroj Khan, and if people are getting to learn it for free, then why not? She would invite celebrities from either TV or Bollywood alongside ordinary people, and she would teach the essential hook steps from the iconic songs.

People would glue their eyes to the TV screen, and people of all age groups used to learn dance from that reality show. It was featured on NDTV Imagine, and the run time was decent.

6. Her Achievements

It is not easy to receive achievements in the male-dominated industry. Saroj Khan turned the world of choreography upside down. People did not even know what choreography was until she entered the industry and changed the perception of everyone. People started knowing and respecting choreographers, and she made a mark of her own that nobody will ever forget.

She received a lot of achievements in her career. She was a three-time National Award Winner for many memorable songs like Sringaram, Yeh Ishq Haaye from Jab We Met, and Dola Re Dola from Devdas. A documentary was also made called The Saroj Khan Story in the year 2012.

She had won Filmfare award for the best choreography in various films like Khalnayak (1994), Tezaab (1989), Chaalbaaz (1990), Beta (1993), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (2000), Devdas (2003), Guru (2008).

She had also won Bollywood Movie Award for best choreography for the movie Devdas and IIFA Award and also Zee Cinema Award for the same film along with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

She was also highly interested in writing, and that is why she tried her hands-on screenwriting for many movies like Dil Tera Deewana, Hum Hain Bemisaal, Hote Hote Pyaar Ho Gaya, Chhote Sarkar, Veeru Dada, and Khanjar.

It is safe to say that she was multi-talented and knew how to get things done and accomplished those things gracefully. The way she choreographed the songs made it look seamless and effortless. She knew the potential that celebrities she worked with it. She accentuated the dance moves in such a way that it would attract the audience, and we know that it did.

There a lot of lessons that she taught us and motivated us in more ways than we could imagine. She taught us not to give up and follow our passion. She faced a lot of struggle during the start of her career and knew that she might have to give up at any point in time. She did not give up, even when she was extremely young.

She gave birth to her son Hamid Khan when she was 14 years old. When she parted ways with her former husband, B. Sohanlal, she was devastated but not weak. She knew the potential she had and never gave up on it. Even as a background dancer, she gave her best and rose to become of the most significant choreographers in the industry.

It is safe to say that she gave choreographers an identity in this industry. Before she entered, nobody knew who choreographers were and what they were supposed to do. She made her way on the big screen and created an identity of her own.

Being a woman in the Bollywood industry can be tough at times. On the one hand, the industry was filled with men, and on the other hand, the competition was pretty huge. Saroj khan stood out in the crowd and gained recognition on her own. Even when she parted ways with her former husband, she brought up the two children independently. She lived on her terms and earned her coins.

Most people are hesitant to enter the small screen when they have made it big in Bollywood, but that was not the instance with her. She entered the small screen and gained popularity there too.

Everybody looked up to her as their parent, and she made them feel homely in her presence. There were rough patches in her life which she overcame gracefully. Everybody across the nation would dance to her steps and follow what she does. She was loved by many, and she inspired a lot of people to follow their passion and never give up on their dreams.

She will always be in our hearts as the Masterji of Bollywood, and we will never forget her grace and her joyous smile. Her dance moves, and the way she was such a fantastic tutor will be remembered.

This was our tribute for the legendary choreographer Saroj Khan. She has changed the world of choreography in Bollywood. No doubt, she will always remain in our hearts. What is it that reminds you of her? Let us know in the comments

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