Bollywood top choreographer Saroj Khan passes away at 71

By: News Desk      Published: 10:33 AM, 3 Jul, 2020
Bollywood top choreographer Saroj Khan passes away at 71

Veteran Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan, who mentored generations of actors, has passed away Friday morning.

She was admitted to Mumbai's Guru Nanak Hospital on June 20 after complaining of difficulty in breathing and died of cardiac arrest. She was 71.

"She passed away due to cardiac arrest at around 2:30 am at the hospital," Ms Khan's nephew Manish Jagwani told news agency PTI.

She is survived by her son and daughter, Raju and Sukaina Khan.

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.

Saroj 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).

Samina Peerzada mourns Saroj's death

Given Saroj's influence on this side of the border, television director, producer and actress Samina Peerzada also went on to pay her respects. Replying to Madhuri Dixit's post, Samina talked about how the Dil to Pagal actress was lucky to have someone like Saroj in her life.

"A great loss please accept my heartfelt condolences. You were blessed to have her as your Guru. May her wonderful soul rest in eternal peace," Samina said.

Bollywood took to Twitter to mourn Khan's death, with many, such as superstar Akshay Kumar and director Kunal Kohli, thanking her for her work.