The first name that strikes you when you talk about Indian choreographers is Saroj Khan. Such is the magic of this ace dancer, who became a part of the Indian film industry ever since she was two years old. Born as Nirmala Kishanchand Sadhu Singh Nagpal on 22nd November, 1948, Saroj Khan stepped into the film industry to support her poor family and so appeared as a child actor in few films. At a mere age of 13 years, she became an assistant to dancer Sohan Lal, whom she married despite having an age gap of about 29 years.
Saroj Khan’s first choreography was at the age 14 for actress Nutan for the song Nigahein Milane Ko Jee Chahta Hai from the film Dil Hi To Hai. She worked for a few other films before moving to Dubai to help settle her family members. Her first big break came when she choreographed all the songs of Subhash Ghai’s film Hero. However, it was later in 1986 that Saroj Khan received major recognition for her movements in Nagina. Ever since, there has been no looking back for the ‘Masterji’ of Bollywood, who has given movements for many songs and has also done small roles in a few films. Let us take a look at some of her best dance numbers till date:
Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera | Nagina
Your hands will automatically go up and form the posture of a snake whenever you hear this song from the 1986 film Nagina. Such was the power of the choreography in this song by Saroj Khan. That it was filmed on Sridevi was an added advantage. The song became an instant hit, especially because of the snake movements in it, and paved the way for success for Saroj Khan.
Kate Nahin Kat Te | Mr. India
This passionate number from Mr. India seems too slow for hardcore dance steps as such, but Saroj Khan overcame this difficulty with quick ease. The provocative ambiance the sexy moves, the music, and the sizzling Anil Kapoor-Sri Devi romance heightened the level of the song and made it one of the most romantic numbers of all times.
Ek Do Teen Char | Tezaab
The song which established Madhuri Dixit as an amazing dancer was choreographed by none other than Saroj Khan. From the film Tezaab, Madhuri’s costumes in this song became quite popular. Ek Do Teen was the ‘Ek’ of the hat-trick of the Filmfare Best Choreography Award that Saroj Khan won. Even today, this song is a favorite among dance professionals and amateurs alike.
Na Jane Kahan Se | Chaal Baaz
Again a chartbuster number from the Sri Devi-Saroj Khan duo that made people groove to the peppy beats was this song from 1990 superhit film Chaal Baaz. Filmed on Sridevi and Sunny Deol, not to forget that cute transparent umbrella, this rain dance was much loved by all and won Saroj Khan her second consecutive Filmfare Award for Best Choreography.
Humko Aajkal Hai Intezaar – Sailab
Counted as one of the most fantastic performances of all times by Madhuri, this hot dance number makes men go crazy for Madhuri. The beautiful heroine in the Marathi-style yellow saree was the icing on the cake of the sexy dance moves of Saroj Khan. The result? The song earned Khan her third consecutive Filmfare Best Choreography Award, and is still a favorite among dancers.
Dhak Dhak Karne Laga | Beta
The name itself suggests that this was a sexy and passionate romantic number from the film Beta and was picturised on Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. The steps had just the right amount of oomph and the magic it ignited back then has not yet extinguished. The song shot Madhuri to the ultimate fame, giving her the tag of “Dhak Dhak Girl”, and awarded Saroj Khan with yet another Filmfare award.
Choli Ke Peechhe Kya Hai | Khalnayak
Any compilation of Saroj Khan’s dance tracks would be incomplete without having this song from Khalnayak in it. Choli Ke Peechhe saw the famous guru-shishya jodi of Saroj-Madhuri team up again to produce a chartbuster which is a rage even in present times. Who can forget those raunchy expressions and Rajasthani moves that Khan lent to Madhuri for this number?
Nimbooda Nimbooda | Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
A very refreshing track from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam also came as a surprise as it showed that Aishwarya Rai could dance pretty well. Thanks to Saroj Khan’s classical moves, this fast-paced dance number was carried off quite gracefully, so much so that Khan walked away with another Filmfare award in her kitty.
Dola Re Dola | Devdas
An awesome threesome of Saroj Khan-Madhuri Dixit-Aishwarya Rai delivered one of the biggest hits of all times with this classical dance in (again!) Bhansali’s magnum opus Devdas. Two beautiful women matched steps with one another so elegantly and gracefully that it all seemed like a motion picture. So what if they were clad in heavy white sarees and lots of ornaments? Anything is possible with Masterji Saroj Khan! Not to forget, she won the Filmfare award and the National Award for Best Choreography for this song.
Barso Re Megha | Guru
A simple and playful song could be rendered simply and playfully only by Saroj Khan. Picturised on a lean Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Guru, the dance master of Bollywood gave simple and innocent steps to match the feel and mood of the song. Needless to say, she was awarded with another Filmfare award for Best Choreography!
Yeh Ishq Hai | Jab We Met
It is Saroj Khan’s specialty to make even non-dancers seem like they are pretty much into dancing. This time it was Kareena Kapoor, whom Saroj Khan taught steps even in the chilling weather of the Rohtang Pass. The happy and peppy number from Jab We Met was a chartbuster for several weeks, and is a popular choice in various social gatherings even today. Yeh Ishq Haaye garnered the National Film Award for Saroj Khan’s choreography.
Such is the dedication that Saroj Khan puts in the art of dance that the fruit is visible to all, in the form of numerous hit dance numbers she has given audiences since the past five decades! There are plenty of other popular songs by her, and if permitted, we could go on and on. But we would like to know from you your favorite Saroj Khan track which makes you get up and dance each time you hear it!