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When Subhash Ghai made Madhuri Dixit cry on the set of her first film, Saroj Khan told her ‘Aisa karegi toh tu aage kabhi nahi jayegi’

Saroj Khan once recalled how Madhuri Dixit was reduced to tears after being yelled at on set by Subhash Ghai.

madhuri dixit song tu hai meraMadhuri Dixit in the song 'Tu Hai Mera.'

The late choreographer Saroj Khan trained some of Bollywood’s finest dancers, across multiple generations. Everyone from Govinda to Kangana Ranaut worked under her. In a 2016 appearance on Doordarshan’s Koshish Se Kaamyaabi Tak show, she spoke about her struggles, and how she made it to the top of her profession.

Recalling how she helped introduce Madhuri Dixit — often regarded as one of Bollywood’s biggest female stars — to the audience, she said that it was entirely by chance that Madhuri was noticed by director Subhash Ghai. He had originally asked for another dancer, but when that woman was unreachable, Saroj Khan chose Madhuri instead.

She said, “I told him that there is one girl who is working with me, she’s very good. Her name is Madhuri Dixit. But she won’t go alone for outdoor shoots, her mother will accompany her. I took them along for the shoot. The song was called ‘Maine Rab Se Tujhe Maang Liya’. Sridevi was there, Jackie Shroff was there. Madhuri’s portion was very small. But it was supposed to be done in one shot, which is very difficult. Subhash ji was very impressed, and he asked me where I found her. He told me to inform Madhuri’s mother to clear her schedule for six months, because he was signing her.”

Madhuri made a grand introduction in the films through a full-page ads that slowly revealed her face and listed all the producers who’d signed her on. But her first few films didn’t work.

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Saroj continued, “Her first film was being directed by his assistant, Kukoo. But he would hardly get a chance to direct because Subhash ji would be on set. And one day, he yelled at her so badly that she started crying. He was known for his temper. I told her that she will never succeed if she doesn’t develop a thick skin. That film didn’t work, it was called Uttar Dakshin.”

She said that after some other films of hers didn’t work, Madhuri resolved to work harder. She would rehearse endlessly, even after Saroj had told her that she had ‘perfected’ the steps. After being told that her work-ethic was preventing her from focusing on other students, Madhuri would attend classes and practice in the corner, by herself.

Saroj Khan died at the age of 71 in 2020. Madhuri paid tribute to her in a social media post, and wrote, “I’m devastated by the loss of my friend and guru, Saroj Khan. Will always be grateful for her work in helping me reach my full potential in dance. The world has lost an amazingly talented person. I will miss you My sincere condolences to the family.”

First published on: 08-09-2022 at 04:41:31 pm
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