As someone who grew up watching Saroj Khan teach dance on television and imitating the steps on songs like ‘Chane Ke Khet Mein’ and ‘Dola Re Dola’, her demise feels like a personal loss. Aged 71, the ace choreographer died of cardiac arrest at Mumbai’s Guru Nanak Hospital on Friday, leaving a void in not just the Hindi film industry but also in the hearts of millions of admirers.

With a career spanning across 2000 songs, Saroj Khan, the three-time National award winner, became the ‘Masterji’ of Bollywood and was known as the ‘dancing queen’, ‘the mother of dance’ and ‘the mother of choreography in India’.

Her most successful association was with actor Madhuri Dixit, with whom she delivered some of the biggest hits like, ‘Ek Do Teen’, ‘Dhak Dhak Karne Laga’ and ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’. On the big screen, audiences admired Madhuri Dixit’s dance. Behind the camera, it was Saroj Khan’s teachings.

What made her special was that she didn’t restrict her teachings to actors. She came onto the small screen and taught young girls like me and others around the world all about dance and expressions on her dance show, ‘Nachle Ve With Saroj Khan.

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Saroj ji .. you gave us and the industry , rhythm, style, grace of movement and the art of converting the lyrics in a song to a meaning in dance .. .. on a chance meeting many many years ago she paid me my best compliment .. she was living in Dubai then from marriage and when DON was released she said “ I saw the film and then after, I would go to the theatre where it was released, at the time when your song ‘khaike paan.. was on , see it and come out .. I used to do it regularly every day .. I would tell the usher to let me in just to see the song and leave .. that is how much I enjoyed your dance moves ..” !! coming from her was the ultimate .. .. a legacy has passed away .. 🙏 And the show moves on .. in remembrance of those that have left us during this time of the times .. day by day they go away .. leaving us all with the happy memories of their presence .. of their immense contribution .. of their life long creativity, captured and documented on celluloid for posterity .. I shall end for the DAY now .. the mind is filled with remorse and grief ..

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From a background dancer to a legendary choreographer, Saroj Khan’s journey and her contribution to the world of dance will be etched in history in Hindi cinema.

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