"I'm devastated by the loss of my friend and guru"
Renowned Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan has died at the age of 71.
Her nephew, Manish Jagwani, revealed that she died of cardiac arrest. Saroj was admitted to hospital on June 20, 2020, after she complained of breathlessness.
She tested negative for Coronavirus and sadly died in the early hours of July 3, 2020.
Saroj had an illustrious career that spanned four decades. In that time, she choreographed more than 2,000 songs. Leading actresses including Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi danced to some of the most iconic songs Saroj produced.
News of her death has shocked Bollywood and many stars paid tribute.
Akshay Kumar wrote: “Woke up to the sad news that legendary choreographer Saroj Khan ji is no more.
“She made dance look easy almost like anybody can dance, a huge loss for the industry. May her soul rest in peace.”
Madhuri Dixit paid tribute to her “friend”, writing:
“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.”
Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan posted a lengthy tribute to Saroj.
Riteish Deshmukh posted: “Rest in Peace Saroj Khan ji. This loss is immeasurable for the industry & film lovers.
“Having choreographed more than 2,000 songs she single-handedly changed the landscape of how songs were shot.
“I had the pleasure of being choreographed by her in Aladin. One tick off my bucket list.”
Born in 1948, Saroj Khan made her way into the film industry as a child actress.
In the 1950s, she became a back-up dancer, appearing in films like Bimal Roy’s Madhumati, where she was choreographed by dance director B Sohanlal, whom she later married.
Saroj moved away from acting and went into choreography where she got her break in the 1974 film Geeta Mera Naam.
Her career elevated during the 1980s where she worked on several hit songs.
She won acclaim for songs in films like Mr India, where she choreographed Bollywood actress Sridevi in the iconic song ‘Hawa Hawai’.
Saroj also received success for films like Chandni, Beta, Tezaab and Gulaab Gang.
In her later years, known popularly as Masterji, Saroj appeared as a judge on reality television dance shows and helped to popularise Bollywood-style dance outside India.
She is survived by her second husband Sardar Roshan Khan and four children.