‘There was finesse in her every shot, she was superlative,’ say Juhi Chawla, Sonakshi Sinha and other celebs as they pay tributes to Saroj Khan


Ace choreographer Saroj Khan’s demise has left a deep void in the hearts of Bollywood celebs who lovingly called her ‘Master Ji’ and learned dance moves from her. Saroj died yesterday due to a cardiac arrest at the age of 71. She was India’s most prolific choreographer who has many firsts to her name. She was also instrumental in the success of several celebs as she always made them look flawless on screen with their grooves.

Tributes have been pouring in for Saroj Khan since yesterday. Juhi Chawla spoke about Saroj Khan and said, "I have many memories of working with her very early on in my career and right up to 'Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa', which was a couple of years ago where Vaibhavi Merchant, Sarojji and I were judges on the show. Sarojji was sheer magic, she was head and shoulder above all, she would make her heroines look and perform like queens. Like a lot of choreographers, Sarojji was short, a little plump, not the perfect face or figure but when she would dance you couldn't take your eyes off her, everybody else around her faded into oblivion. She was mesmerising, she had the finest sense of shot-taking from a direction point of view, her expressions were fantastic - whether it was naughty, seductive, sad, fun or whatever. Her sensibility in every department was top notch. There was finesse in her every shot, she had a fine sense of humour, she was superlative, she was iconic."

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She further added, “Some of my most famous songs have been choreographed by her. We have the title track for Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke, we did Main koi aisa geet gaoon from Yes Boss, Ishq hua kaise hua from Ishq, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, and so many more. Right after Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, my career had just taken off and I had to do the song Main teri rani, tu raja from Lootere where I had to wear just a shirt on the beach and I was nervous thinking how it would turn out as it was an entire image makeover for me to go from wearing ghagra choli in QSQT to just a shirt on the beach. Sarojji handled it and when I saw how she shot it and what it turned out like, I was surprised. I looked like a million. She could make magic out of nothing, she could make everything look classy, it was never just a song, it was finesse in the way she made you look and perform, that was her gift.” 

Allu Arjun, Mahesh Babu, Kunal Kohli, Sonakshi Sinha, Kajal Aggarwal, Priety Zinta, Genelia Deshmukh, Anubhav Sinha, Mouni Roy, Disha Patani, Bhumi Pednekar, Hema Malini, Parinteeti Chopra paid their heartfelt homage to their dancing guru Saroj on social media. Check out their posts below:

Terence Lewis said, “She was an Iron lady who was not afraid to call a spade a spade! Saroj Khan had worked incredibly hard to achieve her position, given the patriarchy in the film industry and the times she lived in. I bow to her talent, her pulse on the music and lyrical interpretation through dance, and her knowledge of camera -- to capture the essence of the beauty of dance. She set the gold standard for all choreographers. She was a living legend in her lifetime and through her labour of love made choreography a recognizable and valuable part of the film business. Her ability to transform the raunchiest and most salacious lyrics and give the act dignity through her craft in songs like Dhak dhak and Choli ke peeche set her apart. Her work has become a Bible for all choreographers including myself. Her professional work was the gold standard for all film choreographers.”


An ode to a legend, an institution by itself... An era passes away #SarojKhanji #RIPSarojKhan #Respect

A post shared by Terence Lewis (@terence_here) on

On the other hand, director Kunal Kohli said, “When I approached Saroj Khan for my music video, she was such a big name in the business that she never did music videos. But I was a fan of Saroj ji's work, we all were. We have grown up watching those dance numbers in Yash Chopra's film. I was in awe. I was directing the video of Chhuimui si tum lagti ho (1998) and asked her if she would choreograph the video. She replied, ‘Chalo theek hai, gaana to ganna hota hai, chahe music video ho ya film.' That is how our collaboration started, as director and choreographer. Chhuimui si tum lagti ho was a hit, and Saroj ji, whom I used to call ‘Masterji', blessed me saying I can potentially become a good filmmaker. When I told her I would love to work with her in every film, she smiled and said, "naye bachhe sab shuru mein aise bolte hai, baad mein sab bhool jaate hai", and smiled. I promised her to work with her again and of course, we continued to collaborate.”

He further added, “There are several songs that we have done together - whether it is Chand sifarish and Dekho na in Fanaa or the title song of Hum Tum. She choreographed about 20 songs in my films but never have I ever had a clash with her. Of course, there have been discussions. At times I would convince her, at times she would convince me. But there was no argument. As we all know, she was a very transparent person who would say everything on your face. So if she loves you, you know it, if she is angry with you, be ready to get a firing. She never discriminated between a star and a junior artiste. If you did not pay attention to a dance step, whether you are a star or a backup dancer, you would get a piece of her mind. I think one thing that she hated always was if you were ‘kaamchor' (work shirker). If you didn't get a dance step right, she would teach you until you perfected it. But she hated people without dedication."

He added, "It is interesting to notice how her choreography made every heroine beautiful. You can recall any dance and whether it is Sridevi, Madhuri, or Kajol -- you recall the grace in their movements along with their expressions. Those expressions made them beautiful. I remember how Saroj ji would not ‘ok' a take if she didn't get the right expression right. She always taught how to dance not just using your body but your face too. These days, kids are learning physical movements as dance so they are flexible. They move their hands and legs well, but with a blank face. Saroj ji discovered the beauty of a woman in her face, so in every choreography, we saw Madhuri, Sridevi ji through their face, a canvas that is filled with expression."

(Source: Twitter/Instagram/IANS)