By Monisha G Kumar Last Updated:
Saroj Khan was a renowned name in the Hindi film industry. Addressed as ‘master ji’, Saroj Khan was one of the poignant choreographers of Bollywood, who made every other celeb dance to her tunes. Be it the foot-tapping number, Hawa Hawai, the sexy dance number, Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai or the romantic mujra, Maar Daala, Saroj Khan had brought life to many iconic Bollywood songs.
In a career spanning over 40 years, Saroj Khan choreographed more than 3000 songs. From a background dancer to an assistant choreographer, Saroj Khan has innumerable signature dance moves to Bollywood. She was blunt, and unapologetic but was every heroine’s favourite. Saroj Khan never knocked on anyone’s door to get work, she rather believed that her work would speak for itself.
Did you know that due to Katrina Kaif, Saroj Khan was once kicked out of a film? Yes, you read that right. Katrina had a dance number in the film, Thugs of Hindustan, which was supposed to be choreographed by Saroj Khan but when Katrina learned about the same, she would need more time for rehearsals, and because of it Saroj Khan lost the project.
Talking about the same in an interview with a leading publication, Saroj Khan herself confirmed the news. Elaborating on the same, she said:
“Yes, I was approached to choreograph ‘Suraiya’, but then Katrina said that if is Masterji then I have to prepare a lot for it. And the makers didn’t have that much time, so Prabhu Deva came on board. I was summarily replaced with Prabhudheva.”
Talking about Saroj Khan’s personal life, she got married to her already-married guru, dance director, B. Sohanlal when she was just 13 years old. She only got to know about his marital status when she gave birth to their first child. In a throwback interview, Saroj Khan talked about the same and said:
“To date, I haven't taken any formal training in dance. I learned my dance from the well-known dance master B Sohanlal. He taught me the basics of Kathak, Kathakali, Manipuri, Bharata Natyam et al. I was barely 13, a schoolgirl, when I married master Sohanlal. He was 43 at that time. I did not know what marriage meant at that time. He just put a black thread around my neck one day and I thought I was married. He didn't tell me that he was already married with four kids. I learned about his first wife only when I gave birth to my first child, my son Raju Khan, in 1963. I was 14 then, too young to comprehend or handle the complicated situation."
At the age of 14, Saroj Khan embraced motherhood with her first child, Hamid Khan (a popular choreographer, known by the name of Raju Khan). Saroj Khan and Sohanlal had separated in 1965, but when he suffered a heart attack, they reunited. Then the couple got blessed with their second child, Hina Khan, but she died after 8 months. Sohanlal had refused to give their children his name, so, Saroj Khan had raised her children as a single mother.
Saroj Khan was one of the most celebrated and versatile choreographers of Bollywood. Her scintillating dance moves will always be missed.