Choreographer Saroj Khan Last Interview: It was her favourite student, Madhuri Dixit‘s 53rd birthday when we contacted choreographer Saroj Khan for an exclusive interview on a Friday morning earlier this year. A hoarse voice answered the call and when we made the request, it turned into excitement. Even before asking any question, Saroj Khan started talking about Madhuri, the woman she loved dearly and respected so much. The emotions were mutual as Master ji went on to explain how she never got the kind of respect from anyone else in the industry the way she received from Madhuri. Also Read - National Handloom Day 2020: Designer Anavila on Condition of Indian Weavers And Need of Govt Intervention | Interview
She reminisced the moments from the late ’80s and the ’90s when Madhuri had just made her foray into Bollywood. Saroj ji mentioned that she had to teach what Bollywood dancing meant to a girl who was trained in classical dancing. She laughed in between, asked questions like do you remember ‘Ek Do Teen’, and expressed her innocent excitement in a way that one could imagine a cherubic smile on her face. She was a legendary choreographer who began the culture of having female dance masters on board for a film and she was aware of her legacy. When she talked about working in a particular song, one could sense how proud she felt describing the number of circles she had asked the actor to perform or how she had a difficulty in making Madhuri learn about the importance of ‘shaking her hips.’ Also Read - Gajraj Rao: I Would Love to Play Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Someday | Exclusive Interview
The entire interview could just well appear like a collection of some of the most treasured moments from Saroj Khan’s life. These moments included the work that became her identity, her love for the art form, her passion for seeking perfection in every tiny step, and her camaraderie with her most blessed student ever. At the end of the interview, when we asked can there be any conversation about Saroj Khan without the mention of Madhuri Dixit, she said she didn’t want to be a part of any conversation that is devoid of the mention of hardwork she did on Madhuri or the lovely memories she had from working on various films with her. Also Read - Vidya Balan: I am a Feminist Work-in-Progress | Exclusive Interview
Maintaining the kind of commanding tone that she was known for, Master ji asked us to wait for her WhastApp and use only the pictures she was going to share for the interview. Assuming that she would know that the number we used to call her was the same number used for WhatsApp, we hung up. A few minutes later, she called back and asked, in a more assertive tone, ‘why didn’t you send your WhatsApp number, I was going to share photos with you?’ We apologised and mentioned that it was the same number and then we sent her a message on WhatsApp explaining the confusion again. She sent many pictures from those good old days when one could see her engrossed in the very form of expression she loved the most. Later, we sent her the published link to the interview and she sent out her blessings not without mentioning that we should genuinely think of her interview as a blessing for Madhuri. We didn’t know that was the last time she was talking to the media.
The popular choreographer passed away on Friday, July 3 at Guru Nanak Hospital in Mumbai after suffering a cardiac arrest. She had been admitted to the hospital since June 20 when she complained of breathlessness. In the interview, she said there can never be another Madhuri Dixit. As true as that may be, the bigger truth is that there will never be anyone like Saroj Khan, the woman who made the film industry danced on its toes for the longest time ever. RIP, Master ji!
You can read her last interview here: Saroj Khan on Madhuri Dixit’s Birthday: I Don’t See Madhuri in Any Actress Today