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Saroj Khan: The Legend Behind The Legend

A heartfelt tribute to the legendary choreographer Saroj Khan by an honest fan

Watching Madhuri Dixit on screen made me fall in love with dancing. Trying to copy every step and recreating them at every birthday party to win an applause from everyone.
Only when I grew up a bit, did I understand that there is someone called as Saroj Khan – ‘choreographer’ behind this. And from that day… the child-me wanted to be a choreographer!

Saroj Khan changed the era of Bollywood choreography. From dancing around the trees or dancing to the classical steps that were supposed to be, Saroj Khan actually epitomized what it meant to dance to express.

Its not possible to count on fingers the number of amazing choreography she’s done because every song was special in its own way. But I would like to put forward 5 things I learnt from her through some of her popular choreography.

1. The Hook Step:

Just like every song as has a sign line, it has a hook step. A step that makes the dance popular and memorable forever. The “Chane Ke Khet Mein” hand gesture or the iconic leg movement in “Tamma Tamma Loge”. The dance is incomplete without the step.

If Madhuri Dixit's Birthday Was A National Holiday!

2. Importance Of Expressions

“Hum Ko Aaj Kal Hai”, a song with such a slow rhythm pattern as a stage dance number. Only Saroj Khan could have turned it around! The entire song is a beauty with the amazing expressions of Madhuri Dixit.

Humko Aaj Kal Hai Intezaar (HD) - Madhuri Dixit - Sailaab Songs ...
courtesy: MakeAGIF.com

Another song, “Akhiyaan Milaoon Kabhi” – only a genius can choreograph a whole beat only with focus on eyes and actually make it look like a dance. She taught us that dancing can be done just through face too.

3. Sexy Not Sleezy

An era in Bollywood where a huge hue and cry was done on “inappropriate” dance moves. And in many cases rightly so! But once again Saroj Khan proved that “sexy” is a feeling of the dancer. And I have never seen a dance as pure as Madhuri Dixit’s “Choli Ke Peeche” from the movie Khalnayak. Absolute grace and nothing else!

choli ke peeche | Tumblr

4. Steps Should Do Justice To The Lyrics

“Jora-Jori… Chane Ke Khet Mein”. Depicting these lyrics in steps so perfectly. A step that is showing struggle but in a fun mood of the song. The steps not just to fit the rhythm but to convey the meaning truly. Some others that do it nicely are “Ek, Do, Teen” and “Piya Ghar Aaya”.

Ek Do Teen | Tezaab (1988) | Madhuri Dixit | Alka Yagnik ...
courtesy: MakeAGIF.com

 

5. Dancing To One’s Strengths

“Dola Re Dola” – a song of two dancing stalwarts Madhrui Dixit and Aishwarya Rai. One proficient in Kathak, the other in Bharatnatyam. The same lyrics, same song, but the variations for both play up to their strengths as dancers. And make the song so iconic that none of them looks any lesser or better than the other.

Aishwarya Rai had a bleeding ear but continued to shoot for Dola ...

To the legend, who gave us such amazing dance numbers, who gave us the amazing Madhuri Dixit and her dance numbers, who made us fall in love with dancing, who made dances as important a part of the song as the song itself.

Thank you Masterji from all the dance lovers!

– tribute by Shipra Chinchankar

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