Guru has utmost importance in dance. May it be Madhuri or Sridevi or many other renowned actresses in industry; all have considered Saroj Ji as Guru. Sridevi and Madhuri were diamonds, of course, but Saroj ji was the jeweler who carved them to glow and shine.
Saroj ji won three consecutive Filmfare for Best Choreographer. ‘Tezaab’, ‘Chaalbaaz’ and ‘Sailab’ were the three movies and ‘Ek Do Teen‘, ‘Na Jaane Kaha Se Aayi Hai‘ and ‘Hamko Aaj kal Hai Intezar‘ were the three songs and years were 1989, 1990 and 1991. Then came ‘Dhak Dhak Karne Laga‘ by Madhuri and Saroj Ji became best once again in 1993. The same year was remarkable for ‘Khalnayak’ movie of Subhash Ghai and in 1994 Saroj Ji again arrived on stage of Filmfare for famous song ‘Choli Ke Pichhe Kya Hai‘.
After 94 Farah Khan, Ahmad Khan, Chinni Prakash arrived as choreographer who had considered Saroj Ji as Guru. From 1994 to 2000 these were the people who claimed Filmfare but in 1999 Aishwarya Roy came dancing on ‘Nimbuda Nimbuda‘ song and Saroj ji again grabbed Filmfare in 2000.
After ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, Sanjay Leela Bhansali again gave responsibility of choreography for ‘Devdas’ to Saroj Khan where ‘Dola Re Dola Re‘ by Madhuri and Aishwarya set an example for best choreography in Hindi films. That gave Saroj ji Filmfare and first National Award too in 2003.
Before that, she received international honour of American Choreography in 2002 for ‘Lagaan’. The eighth and last Filmfare for her was for song ‘Barso Re Megha Megha‘ from film ‘Guru’ in 2008. Coincidence is that she also received her third and last National Award in her career for choreography of the song ‘Yeh Ishq Haaye Baithe Bithaye Jannat Dikhaye’, in the movie ‘Jab We Met’. Her second national award was for Tamil movie ‘Shringaram’.
The movies which didn’t get any awards but were very well appreciated by people for remarkable choreography are ‘Nagina’, ‘Ram Lakhan’, ‘Chandni’, ‘Thanedar’, ‘Hero’, ‘Darr’, ‘Baazigar’, ‘Anjam’, ‘Aaina’, ‘Mohra’, ‘Yarana’, ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’, ‘Pardes’, ‘Taal’, ‘Fiza’, ‘Sathiya’, ‘Swades’, ‘Veer Zaara’ etc.
It is an unfortunate coincidence that her last movie was ‘Kalank’ in 2019 and it was with her favorite disciple Madhuri. She had started her journey in 1974 from movie ‘Geeta Mera Naam’. Her original name was ‘Nirmala Nagpal’ and her guru was famous choreographer in 60s Mr. B. Sohanlal with whom she later married.
In her 40 years long career, Saroj ji choreographed more than 2000 songs. She was one of the dancers in group dance behind hero heroine in 50s. Saroj Khan was a motherly personality in film industry. She also used to write stories for films. Saroj ji was the most favourite choreographer for producers like Subhash Ghai, Yash Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Friday is the day of new film release and also considered as holy day for Muslims called as Jumma and see the coincidence that Saroj Ji left this world on Friday 3rd July 2020. Her soul may rest in peace. Thanks, Saroj Ji, you will be always remembered for your great contribution in film industry.