Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan passed away in Mumbai on Friday following a cardiac arrest. She was 71.
Saroj’s daughter Sukaina Khan confirmed the news to indianexpress.com.
Saroj Khan was admitted to Mumbai’s Guru Nanak Hospital on June 17 after suffering from a kidney condition. She was on regular dialysis support.
Dr Narendra Sharma, CEO of Guru Nanak hospital, said, “She was diabetic. Also had a heart problem and obesity issue. We did COVID-19 test twice, and she tested negative both times.”
Sharma said Saroj suffered a cardiac arrest due to multiple complications on July 3. She was declared dead at 1:51 am on Friday.
Saroj Khan was born as Nirmala Nagpal. She joined the Indian film industry as a child artiste, playing the younger Shyama in Nazarana. She eventually became a background dancer in 1950s films like Bimal Roy’s Madhumati under the guidance of dance director B. Sohanlal.
Khan later became an assistant choreographer and her first break as an independent choreographer came with Geeta Mera Naam (1974). She tasted fame with the song “Hawa Hawai” from Mr. India (1987). Her collaboration with Sridevi on other projects like Chandni and Nagina further boosted her profile.
It was, however, her collaboration with Madhuri Dixit that transformed the careers of both the artistes, beginning with “Ek Do Teen” (Tezaab), and following it up with dance numbers “Tamma Tamma Loge” (Thanedaar), “Hum Ko Aaj Kal Hai Intezaar” (Sailaab) and “Dhak Dhak Karne Laga” (Beta).
Saroj Khan’s other popular films include Darr, Baazigar, Mohra, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Pardes, Soldier, Taal, Veer-Zaara, Don, Saawariya, Lagaan, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Manikarnika among more. She got to reunite with Madhuri in Gulaab Gang (2014).
In a career spanning four decades, Khan choreographed nearly 2000 songs. The legendary artiste was a recipient of three National Awards for films Devdas, Jab We Met and Sringaram (Tamil). She won Filmfare Awards for movies like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Guru, Khalnayak and Chaalbaaz. Her last film was Kalank (2019), where she choreographed “Tabaah Ho Gaye”, picturised on Madhuri.
Saroj Khan also tried her hands at screenwriting, and turned writer for movies like Khiladi, Hum Hain Bemisaal, Veeru Dada, Chhote Sarkar, Dil Tera Diwana, Hote Hote Pyar Ho Gaya, Benaam and Khanjar. Her appearance on the small screen included being the judge on reality dance shows like Nach Baliye, Ustaadon Ka Ustaad, Boogie Woogie and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.
Saroj is survived by her husband B. Sohanlal, son Hamid Khan and daughters Hina Khan and Sukyna Khan.
(With inputs from Tabassum Barnagarwala)
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