Saroj Khan, ace choreographer, passed away in Mumbai on July 3. She was 71. The lady spent her last few days at a hospital in Bandra, where she was admitted after complaining of difficulty in breathing. She had tested negative for Coronavirus. She was laid to rest at the Muslim Cemetery in Malad at 630am on Friday. In an official statement issued by her family, it was shared that no prayer meet would be held in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, however, once things settled down, they would meet and celebrate Bollywood's behoved Masterji's glorious life.
Saroj ji was the greatest and most artistic choreographer in the film industry I joined in 1990.Her name involved with a project was always a huge advantage to the producers and her style of choreography had the top talent of the film industry making the music come alive with grace and sensuality.
Saif Ali Khan who worked with Saroj on many songs, has vivid memories of her. In a long letter for the lady, he wrote, "I did my first film and first song ever with her in "parampara", followed closely with "Aashiq awaara", the title song of which was a big hit and stabilised my floundering career. She had me doing some trademark moves on my knees on a sweaty , incredibly hot and crowded set with no air conditioner and lots of chemical "smoke."
Saif went on to recount, "I think only my colleagues from the 90s and before will understand the conditions I mean. I finished the step and found I had torn the knees of my trousers and blood was trickling down my leg. I told Saroji, or masterji as I called her , and she said "oh don’t worry about blood. See where this blood takes you in life." She taught me to work hard . I would turn off the set lights and wrap a mal mal cloth around my head and rehearse her steps for hours , often without lunch, to get it right; but we were never allowed to change the step to make it easier. That was not her work ethic."
He added, "She knew what "style" suited each of us actors best and would create that for us. She made me rehearse for a week for a song I was to do with her and when I got to the set she made me perform it in one go infront of the unit . When I finished panting , she said "ok, now forget all that, now that you’re easy with the song let’s try something better !” That song was "ole ole" in Yeh Dillagi and she took a hit song to another level. I must have performed this song a few hundred times on stage on international tours, often three times in a row to "encores"! I will always owe her ( and Jojo and Ahmed Khan who at the time were her young assistants ! Later they became big names in their own right ) for this song and making me into a dancing star - an incredible feat as I have two left feet !!!"
Saroj Khan's demise is truly the end of an era where dancing into people's hearts was not just an emotional but a way of bringing dreams to reality. RIP, Masterji.
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