Saroj Khan, one of the most celebrated and prominent choreographers of India, has passed away at the age of 71.
Saroj Khan was admitted to Guru Nanak Hospital in Mumbai on 17th June, when she complained of breathlessness. However, she tested negative for Covid-19.
She passed away on Friday around 2:30 AM due to cardiac arrest as confirmed by her nephew Manish Jagwani. Her funeral was held on Friday morning in Mumbai and she is survived by her daughter and son, Sukaina and Raju Khan.
Khan began her career in Bollywood as a child star when she became a back-up dancer in the 1950s. She then began working as an assistant choreographer until 1974 when she got her big break in Geeta Mera Naam. By the 1980s, Saroj Khan had become a recognizable name in Bollywood as she started working with iconic stars like Madhuri and Sridevi.
She became a dance director to be reckoned with when she choreographed Sridevi in the 1987 blockbuster hit Mr. India’s “Hawa Hawai”. She won her first Filmfare Award for choreography in 1989 for “Ek Do Teen”. Fondly called “Master Ji” in the industry, she worked in over 2000 songs during her career.
However, in 2019, the legendary choreographer admitted that work had dried up. In an interview with Mid-Day, she said Salman Khan promised to work with her in a future project when he heard of her plight. She said, “When we met, Salman asked me what I was doing nowadays. So I told him honestly that I don’t have any work, and that I am teaching Indian classical dance to young actresses. Upon hearing that, he said, ‘Now, you will work with me’. I know he is a man of his word, so he will keep his promise”.
Saroj Khan’s last on-screen work in Bollywood was the song “Tabah Hogaye” for Abhishek Varman’s 2019 film Kalank. She teamed up with her “favorite student” for the song, Madhuri Dixit.
Bollywood paid tribute to the dancing queen as news of her death broke out, with celebrities like Akshay Kuman and Kunal Kohli thanking her for her amazing work over the years.