Saroj Khan, one of the most celebrated and revered choreographers of Bollywood, passed away on July 3. Being Bollywood's first female choreographer, Saroj Khan was highly admired for her talent of grasping the lyrics and bringing out the best dance routines from her students. Saroj Khan was one of the leading Indian choreographers in Bollywood. In her career spanning over 4 decades, she choreographed more than 2,000 songs. Her students fondly referred to her as 'Masterji'.
Masterji ran a dance institute in Dubai before shifting to choreography. She got her break as an independent choreographer with Geeta Mera Naam (1974). But her claim to fame came in the form of her work Sridevi in the song Hawa Hawai. From here on out there was no looking back for her. She worked with many A-list Bollywood actresses like Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and more.
Masterji was the first recipient of the Filmfare Best Choreography Award. The award was instituted by Filmfare after watching the brilliant choreography of Saroj Khan to the song 'Ek Do Teen'. Following this, she went on to score a hat trick at the Filmfare award by winning the Best Choreography Award 3 years in row from 1989-1991. She also held the record of winning the most number of Filmfare awards in this category. She had won 8 Filmfare Best Choreography Awards in her career. She was also a three time recipient of the National Film Award for Best Choreography. She held the record for winning the most National Film Awards as well.
The amount of recognition and appraise Saroj Khan's dance moves received tells a lot about Mof just her talent, but her legacy as well. Her legacy remains in the form of some of the most iconic songs of Bollywood, especially from the 90s which can be summarized as the golden period of her career. Let's take a look at some of the dance numbers choreographed by Saroj Khan.
Though this is not Saroj Khan's debut song, it can be rightfully considered as the song that made her a bonafide choreographer in Hindi cinema. She always designed the steps keeping the characters in mind and Hawa Hawai is the proof of that. Sridevi's dance moves coupled with her expressions made this song a hit.
Saroj Khan and Madhuri Dixit's pair was one that was made in heaven. Madhuri is considered as one of her best students. According to reports, Masterji and Dixit rehearsed for 16 days for the song and shot it over a week and even pulled a 24 hour shift while doing so. The song catapulted Madhuri's status as a Dancing Queen of Bollywood.
The song that talks and depicts the flavor and shape of a lemon through its lyrics and especially through the dance and expressions isn't an easy thing to pull off. Saroj Khan made it possible by employing a number of intricate classical dance moves. Khan's moves coupled with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's expressions brought this sprightly song to life.
This sensuous dance number from the movie Beta is still looked up to for its choreography. While some of the dance moves might raise some eyebrows, no one can deny the complexity of the dance moves that Madhuri Dixit performed with relative ease.
If you've seen the video of the song Dola Re, you can imagine how daunting a task it would have been to choreograph such demanding steps. Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan put their best foot forward in order to cope with Masterji's strenuous choreography. Masterji even won a National Award for her choreography of this song.