By Monisha G Kumar Last Updated:
Saroj Khan was one of the poignant faces of dance choreography in the Hindi film industry. Hailed as Masterji by everyone, Saroj Khan was born as Nirmala Nagpal and began her career as a child artist at the age of 3 and later as a background dancer in the late 1950s. With a career span of over four decades, Saroj had made many B-town artists dance to her steps.
Calling a spade, a spade, Saroj Khan was famous for not bearing any star tantrums on the sets. Be it her strict dance routines or her confidence in her art, Saroj Khan was never biased towards any artist. A lot of actresses have credited masterji for their superstardom. Be it Madhuri Dixit’s Ek Do Teen or Sridevi’s Hawa Hawai, it was Saroj’s dance moves, which gave soul to these songs.
Many times, Saroj Khan hit the headlines for her ugly spat with stars. And one such episode happened when she choreographed Salman Khan in the popular song, Yeh Raat Aur Yeh Doorie, in the cult classic, Andaz Apna Apna in 1994. The song was a huge hit, however, apparently, Salman was not quite pleased with his steps and blamed the choreographer for giving Aamir better steps.
A viral clip of Saroj Khan is doing rounds on social media, in which the choreographer spoke about her fallout with Salman Khan. Talking to Zoom, Saroj revealed how Salman was hurt because 'as per him' Aamir got star moves. She also stated how Salman vouched that he would never work with her once he became a star. In his words:
“I will not work with you once I become the top hero in the industry.”
In the same interview, Saroj revealed that she only did what her director told her. Stating how he didn’t work with her over a long period of time, the ace choreographer shared:
“I did exactly what my director told me. If you felt bad then I’m very sorry. You won’t work with me? Roti Allah deta hai… Tu nahi deta hai.”
To watch the video, click here.
However, in 2019, Saroj Khan revealed that when she met Salman Khan, he asked her what she was doing and when he learnt she had no work, the actor promised to sign her for one of his films. Sharing details about the same, she stated:
“When we met, Salman asked me what I was doing nowadays. So I told him honestly that I don’t have any work [film offers], and that I am teaching Indian classical dance to young actresses. Upon hearing that, he said, ‘Now, you will work with me’. I know he is a man of his word, so he will keep his promise.”
After working as an assistant choreographer, Saroj Khan got her breakthrough as an independent choreographer with the film, Geeta Mera Naam (1974). It was her work in the film, Mr India, with which she got the fame. The last song that Saroj Khan choreographed was Tabah Ho Gaye from Karan Johar’s film, Kalank.
On July 3, 2020, Saroj Khan bid farewell to this world and went to her heavenly abode after suffering a cardiac arrest.