Saroj Khan won her third National Award as choreographer for the song Yeh ishq haye in Imtiaz Alis 2007 film, Jab We Met, which was picturized on Kareena Kapoor Khan. Ali recalls how Khans choreographing the song happened by sheer coincidence, and also how they would collaborate again in his 2009 film Love Aaj Kal.
"Getting Saroj Khan to choreograph Yeh ishq haye for Jab We Met was purely coincidental. We were already shooting in Manali. We were speaking to choreographers in Mumbai to come and join the unit, and then it just happened that she was there in Manali. She was shooting for another film. I thought it would be the best thing in the world if she agreed to do my film. So I met her at the hotel. Her work was over for the other film. There were seven to 10 days in between, so I asked her if she could stay back for those seven or 10 days. She agreed, and then she shot our song. In those seven to 10 days, she worked relentlessly. We had around 70 dancers from different places in Himachal Pradesh. She would rehearse continuously with them," revealed Imtiaz.
Master ji always told me... perrr nahin chala saktiii toh kam se kam face toh chalaaaaa. That’s what she taught me... to enjoy dancing, smile and smile through the eyes. There can never be another... Dance and expression can never be the same for us actors and for everyone who loved her... Love you master ji. Till we dance again... RIP #SarojKhan
"She was really a pleasure to work with. After the shooting of the song was over, I requested her if she could dance to the whole song - the parts that Kareena had done in the song. She danced for all of us - there were 200 to 300 people, and she danced for all of us! That was the most thrilling thing I will remember about her. As for her working style, she was very clear about the procedure. She never seemed to be in a rush, she was very calm. I remember her words, she said, 'You can reject my ideas as many times as you want. Iss dukan mein saman bohot hai (there are lots of products in this shop), so if you don't like something, fikar matt karna (don't worry), I'll do something else'. She was very simple, easy, and methodical to work with. I really liked her. Directors and choreographers are usually at loggerheads because of the different ways they want to shoot a song, but she was very easy. I thoroughly enjoyed her company," reminisced the director.
"After winning the National Award, she called me. She behaved like a teenager – she giggled away! She said 'I've got a National Award' with so much excitement," shared Imtiaz who worked with her again in Love Aaj Kal. "We used to call her Masterji. We had regard and warmth for each other. I would have loved to do another film with her, but it never happened. I might have connected with her in the passing. But I remember her more for the experience of working with her, and that phone call she made after winning the award. Her dance, the way she danced, was so beautiful. That is how I will remember her," recalled Imtiaz, before signing off.