RIP Saroj Khan: When the veteran choreographer called Madhuri Dixit her ‘best student’


Ace choreographer Saroj Khan passed away today at 71 years. She died of a cardiac arrest after being admitted to a hospital on June 17 for breathing issues. Saroj was one of the most celebrated choreographers of Bollywood and had many firsts to her name. There are numerous actresses who learnt the art of Bollywood dancing - sur, taal, adaah from Master Ji and without a flicker of doubt, Madhuri Dixit can be named one of her finest proteges.

Saroj ji's relationship with Madhuri is something that the actress has always treasured and spoken about. In fact, Saroj had gone ahead and called Madhuri 'is her best student ever.' She had said, “We have a beautiful journey together and Madhuri is the best student I have ever come across.”

Saroj ji’s and Madhuri’s relationship was a symbiotic one as both were instrumental in making the other reach their full potential. Choreographing Madhuri in her iconic dance number Ek Do Teen in Tezaab got Saroj ji her first Filmfare Award in 1988. In fact, the award category was specially constituted for the choreographer!

Saroj ji went on to clinch a hat-trick winning three consecutive Filmfare Awards in 1989, 1990 and 1991 for Tezaab, Chaalbaaz and Sailaab.

RECOMMENDED READ: Saroj Khan In Memoriam: How a background dancer became Bollywood’s ‘Mother of Dance’

Talking about Madhuri, Saroj had once said in an interview, “Madhuri could pick up dance steps easily. She was a trained Kathak dancer and learnt for 12 years. But, the problem was she couldn't shake her hip. In Kathak, you don't shake your hip. The first film we did together was Subhas Ghai's Uttar Dakshin. From there our journey started and I started teaching her. She was a little slow in the beginning but she got the heck of it. Madhuri used to copy me to the T. Ek Do Teen was the best performance of Madhuri and it established her as a dancer. We have many sweet memories. I can't pinpoint any one of them. They will always remain fresh in my heart. Madhuri is a naughty girl. Sometimes, I used to stumble while speaking in English and she would come quietly and correct me in my ears. We both had this joke amongst us. Later, if she had any films, she would call me and give details about the producer making the film. She would ask me to do the songs for her. That time the fashion was one master in a picture. Now, it has changed.”

On Madhuri’s birthday, the ace choreographer wrote a heartfelt birthday wish for her muse. Calling Madhuri her inspiration, she wrote, “Happy birthday M.D, my inspiration. You are my love for dancing. God give you a long long long life, his blessing should always be on you, God give you good health and keep you wealthy. God bless your children and Dr. Nene. Lots of love, Master Ji.”

With Saroj Khan’s death, Madhuri has been left devastated. Lovingly calling her ‘Master Ji’ she penned a heartfelt tribute for her and wrote, “I'm devastated & at an utter loss of words today! Saroj ji was part of my journey since the beginning. She taught me a lot, not just about dance but so much more. There's a rush of memories in my head thinking of this big personal loss. My heartfelt condolences to the family.”

Madhuri and Saroj collaborated on several songs throughout the years. Their most iconic songs are Dola Re Dola, Ek Do Teen, Humko Aaj Kal Hai, Dhak Dhak, Tamma Tamma Loge, Channe Ke Khet Mein, Tabah Ho Gaye and many more. In fact, the hook step of Channe Ke Khet Mein became Madhuri’s signature step. Madhuri is extremely sad with the legendary choreographer’s passing. Her official ‘Dance With Madhuri’ social media page bears a heartfelt tribute to Saroj Khan.

The actress shared a short clip of rehearsing with Saroj and wrote, “A tribute to the legend #SarojKhan ji. She was an inspiration for dancers & choreographers all over the world. You will be dearly missed. May you rest in peace. #RestInPeace.”

(Source: Instagram/Twitter/Filmfare/Mumbai Miror)