Saroj Khan, a top Bollywood choreographer, has died in a Mumbai hospital, her family has announced. She was 71.
The three-time National Award winner was hospitalised last Saturday after she complained of breathlessness. She tested negative for Covid-19, the Press Trust of India news agency said, and died early on Friday.
Khan choreographed more than 2,000 songs in her career spanning more than 40 years. Leading actresses including Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi danced to some of the most popular songs Khan produced.
Bollywood paid tribute to an icon of its industry. Actor Akshay Kumar said Khan made dance look easy, almost like anybody can do it. “A huge loss for the industry,” Kumar tweeted.
Woke up to the sad news that legendary choreographer #SarojKhan 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 🙏🏻
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) July 3, 2020
Rest in Peace Saroj Khan ji. This loss is immeasurable for the industry & film lovers.Having choreographed more than 2000 songs she single handedly changed the landscape of how songs were shot. I had the pleasure of being Choerographed by her in Aladin. One tick off my bucketlist
— Riteish Deshmukh (@Riteishd) July 3, 2020
Khan started her acting career at the age of three in a Bollywood film.
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.
She later shifted to choreography and got her break in 1974 in the film Geeta Mera Naam. She never looked back and created some of Bollywood’s most popular film songs.
She won acclaim for songs in movies like Mr India – where she choreographed Bollywood star Sridevi in the iconic song Hawa Hawai – as well as Chandni, Beta, Tezaab, and Gulab Gang.
In her later years, known popularly as Masterji, she appeared as a judge on reality television dancing shows and helped popularise Bollywood-style dance outside India.
Khan was buried in a Mumbai cemetery on Friday, her nephew Manish Jagwani told reporters.
She is survived by her second husband Sardar Roshan Khan and three children.