Saroj Khan, one of the prominent dance choreographers in the Hindi cinema industry, passed away in Mumbai on Friday at the age of 71, triggering an outpouring of condolences from all quarters. She was fondly called ‘Masterji’ by her bevy of admirers, and enthralled vast audiences by giving signature steps to a slew of iconic songs.
The dance mastero, who was raised in Maharashtra, had a career span of over forty years, choregraphing over 2000 songs, many of which are still remembered. The craze for dancing blossomed in Khan from a very young age. She started her career as a child artist at the age of three for the film ‘Nazarana,’ and then, graced many stages as a background dancer.
She then moved up from a background dancer to an assistant choreographer to an independent choreographer. She got her first break in 1974 with the movie ‘Geeta Mera Naam.’ And after that there was no looking back as she choreographed some legendary actors, including Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit, and Sridevi.
She received wide recognition and acclaim for her work with Sridevi. She choreographed the late actor for songs like Hawa Hawai in ‘Mr India’ (1987), and also in Nagina (1986) and Chandni (1989). Recognition as a choreographer further came with Madhuri Dixit’s hits like Ek Do Teen in ‘Tezaab’ (1988), Tamma Tamma Loge in ‘Thanedaar’ (1990) and Dhak Dhak Karne Laga in ‘Beta’ (1992).
Saroj Khan also appeared in many television dance reality shows as a judge and inspired many young kids through the show. She was the recipient of three National Film Awards for her stellar choreography in 2003 released ‘Dola Re Dola song (Devdas), in 2006, for all songs from Tamil period movie ‘Sringaram,’ and in 2008, for the song ‘Yeh Ishq Haaye’ (Jab We Met).
She also went on to have a hat-trick at the Filmfare awards winning consistently for three years from 1989 to 1991. She died due to a cardiac arrest in the ICU of Guru Nanak Hospital, where she was admitted on June 20.
The last rites of Saroj Khan were performed at Malvani in Malad, Mumbai on Friday.