Saroj Khan attends the 20th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards ceremony in Mumbai. File/ AFP
Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan passed away after a cardiac arrest on early on Friday. She was 71.
Khan was diabetic and had complained of breathing problem last month, following which she was admitted to Mumbai's Guru Nanak Hospital. Over the past few weeks, she had been experiencing multiple health issues, though she had tested negative for Covid-19. She breathed her last at around 1.30 a.m., family sources said.
The last rites were performed at Malad burial ground. Few members of her family were allowed at the burial owing to social distancing norms.
Khan won the National Award thrice in her lifetime. In 2003, she received the honour for the song "Dola re dola" in "Devdas", picturised on Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan. In 2006, she was a recipient of the award for all the songs she choreographed in the Tamil film, "Sringaram". In 2008, she won the award for the song "Yeh ishq haaye" filmed on Kareena Kapoor in "Jab We Met".
One of the most prolific choreographers of the Hindi film industry, Khan, fondly called 'Masterji' in Bollywood, had called the shots in over 2,000 songs spanning over four decades.
Although Khan started out in the early seventies, she really became a household name in the mid to late eighties, first directing some memorable dances for Sridevi and then Madhuri Dixit, the reigning superstars of the era.
Khan started out choreographing with the 1974 film, "Geeta Mera Naam ". She directed songs for the Tamil film "Thai Veedu" in 1983, and also worked in Subhash Ghai's superhit "Hero" the same year.
It was the 1986 film, "Nagina" that made her a household name. Sridevi's iconic dance "Main naagin tu sapera" in that film continues to be a popular number even today.
Saroj Khan is presenting a special award. File / AP
Her choreography for Sridevi the next year in "Mr India", particularly the song "Hawaa hawaai" then scaled popularity.
Khan has also given Madhuri Dixit some of her most iconic hits including "Ek do teen" ("Tezaab"), and "Dhak dhak" ("Beta") among numerous others.
Lately, Khan has been selective with signing new projects. Her recent works include choreographing Kangana Ranaut in "Manikarnika" last year and "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" in 2015.
Her last major assignment has been directing Madhuri's moves in last year's release, "Kalank".
Khan, born in 1948, started out in films at the age of three as a child artiste before a stint as a back-up dancer in the fifties.
She is survived by her husband, son and two daughters.
She was 71 and breathed her last at a private hospital in Juhu where she was rushed last Sunday after severe breathing problems.
Saroj struck a fine balance between the classical and the contemporary in the 2000-plus musical set-pieces that she animated with her mastery over expressions, mudras and dance steps.
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