Saroj Khan

Saroj Ahmad Khan
Nirmala Nagpal

(1948-11-22)22 November 1948
Died3 July 2020(2020-07-03) (aged 71)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Years active1958–2020
B. Sohanlal
(m. 1961; separated 1965)

Sardar Roshan Khan (m. 1975)

Saroj Khan (born Nirmala Nagpal; 22 November 1948 – 3 July 2020)[1] was a leading Indian dance choreographer in Hindi cinema.[2] She was born in Bombay State (present day Maharashtra), India. She was also known as "The mother of Choreography in India"[3][4]. With a career spanning over forty years, she choreographed more than 2000 songs. She died on 3 July 2020 of a sudden cardiac arrest.[5][6][7]


Born Nirmala Nagpal, her parents Kishanchand Sadhu Singh and Noni Singh migrated to India after partition of India. She started her career as a child artist at the age of three with the film Nazarana as baby Shyama,[8] and was a background dancer in the late 1950s. She learnt dance while working under film choreographer B. Sohanlal, whom she married at the age of 13 while he was 43 years and was already married with 4 children which she did not know at the time of marriage.[9] After their separation, she married businessman Sardar Roshan Khan in 1975. They were blessed with a daughter, Sukaina khan, who is known to run a dance institute in Dubai.[10] Later, she moved to choreography, first as an assistant choreographer and later getting her break as an independent choreographer, with Geeta Mera Naam (1974). However, she had to wait many years to receive acclaim, which came with her work with Sridevi; Hawa Hawai in Mr India (1987), Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera in Nagina (1986) and Mere Haathon Mein in Chandni (1989), and later with Madhuri Dixit, starting with the hit Ek Do Teen in Tezaab (1988), Tamma Tamma Loge in Thanedaar (1990)[11] and Dhak Dhak Karne Laga in Beta (1992). Thereafter, she went on to become one of the most successful Bollywood choreographers.[8][12]

In 2014, Khan worked with Madhuri Dixit again in Gulaab Gang.[13] She was on the advisory board of Rishihood University.[14]

Television appearances

Saroj Khan appeared on a reality dance show as a member of the jury in 2005 Nach Baliye, which aired on STAR One along with two other judges. She also appeared in the second season of the same show. She has recently been a judge for the show Ustaadon Ka Ustaad, which is aired on Sony Entertainment Television (India). She appeared on the 2008 show Nachle Ve with Saroj Khan, which was aired on NDTV Imagine. She choreographed for this show. She appeared on Sony's Boogie Woogie (TV series) show from December 2008 as one of the judges, along with Javed Jaffrey, Naved Jaffrey and Ravi Behl. She was a judge on the third season of a popular show – Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, which began on 27 February 2009 and was aired on Sony Entertainment Television (India) alongside former Nach Baliye judge Vaibhavi Merchant and actress Juhi Chawla.[citation needed]

She was judging the dance reality show Nachle Ve with Saroj Khan. She has hosted and completed Nachle Ve with Saroj Khan.[citation needed]

In 2012, The Saroj Khan Story, a documentary produced by PSBT and Films Division of India and directed by Nidhi Tuli was released.[15][16]

She appeared in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah as a judge in a dance competition.[17]


Saroj Khan was admitted to Guru Nanak Hospital at Bandra, Mumbai on 17 June 2020, because of breathing difficulties, and died of cardiac arrest at 1:52 AM IST on 3 July 2020.[18] She was 71 and is survived by son Hamid Khan and daughter Sukaina Khan.[19][20]

Selected filmography

As writer

Awards and recognitions

Madhuri Dixit dancing to Dola Re Dola, for which Khan won her first National Award in Unforgettable Tour, 2008

National Film Award

Saroj Khan was the recipient of the most National Film Awards for Best Choreography with three wins.[21]

Year Film Nominated work Category Result Ref.
2003 Devdas "Dola Re Dola" Best Choreography Won
2006 Sringaram All songs Won
2008 Jab We Met "Yeh Ishq Haaye" Won

Filmfare Best Choreography Award

Saroj Khan was the first recipient of the filmfare Best Choreography Award. Filmfare instituted this award after watching the excellent choreography and audience response to Khan's song "Ek Do Teen" from Tezaab. Saroj Khan went on to have a hat-trick at the Filmfare awards winning consistently for 3 years from 1989 to 1991. She also held the record for winning the most Filmfare Best Choreographer Awards, winning 8.[22]

American Choreography Award

Nandi Awards

Kalakar Awards

  • 2011: 19th Annual Kalakar Achiever Award for Outstanding Contribution in Dance Choreography


In April 2018, Khan made statements defending the practice of casting couch, stating that the film industry provides people employment and "doesn’t rape and abandon" them. Following online backlash, she apologised for her comments.[23]

See also


  1. ^ "Choreographer Saroj Khan passes away". The Indian Express. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Ace choreographer Saroj Khan passes away due to cardiac arrest in Mumbai". The Times of India. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  3. ^ Desk, India com Viral News (3 July 2020). "'Mother of Dance': Netizens Mourn the Demise of Choreographer Saroj Khan, Say 'Another Legend Gone'". India News, Breaking News, Entertainment News | Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  4. ^ Desk, India com Viral News (5 July 2020). "Amul India Pays Doodle Tribute to 'Mother of Dance/Choreography in India' Saroj Khan". India News, Breaking News, Entertainment News | Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Woman behind Bollywood's biggest dance numbers dies". BBC News. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  6. ^ Shekhar, Himanshu (3 July 2020). "Saroj Khan dead at 72, saroj khan Dies of cardiac arrest in Bandra Guru Nanak Hospital updates | Celebrities News – India TV". Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Saroj Khan passes away at 72: Madhuri Dixit, Akshay Kumar, Shabana Azmi, mourn choreographer's demise - Entertainment News, Firstpost". Firstpost. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  8. ^ a b Gulzar; Govind Nihalani; Saibal Chatterjee (2003). Encyclopaedia Of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. p. 573. ISBN 978-81-7991-066-5. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Birthday girl Saroj Khan married a 43-year-old man at the age of 13". Orissa Post. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Saroj Khan Death: Her Original Name Was Nirmala Nagpal, First Marriage At The Age Of 13, Here's All You Need To Know About The Late Choreographer!". Abp News. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  11. ^ "'Tamma tamma loge' got okayed in the 48th take: Saroj Khan". Times Of India. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  12. ^ Shoma A. Chatterji (28 October 2012). "Diva of Dance". The Tribune. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Madhuri is still superb: Saroj Khan". The Times of India. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Board of Advisors". Rishihood University. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  15. ^ "She's the Dancing Queen". Indian Express. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  16. ^ "The real 'Dhak Dhak' girl". MiD DAY. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Saroj Khan To Appear In 'Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chasmah'". Movie Talkies. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Choreographer Saroj Khan passes away". The Indian Express. New Delhi. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Saroj Khan Dead At Age 71: Famous Choreographer". EMEA Europe Middle East Africa Tribune. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  20. ^ Suvarna, Joyeeta (3 July 2020). "Ace choreographer Saroj Khan, 71, dies of cardiac arrest in Mumbai". India TV. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  21. ^ Desk, India com Entertainment (3 July 2020). "Saroj Khan Passes Away at 71: Here's a List of Her Best-Choreographed Songs of The Dance Maestro". India News, Breaking News, Entertainment News | Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  22. ^ "A look at veteran choreographer Saroj Khan's list of awards and honours". Zee News. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  23. ^ Goyal, Divya (24 April 2018). "Saroj Khan's Shocker On Casting Couch: At Least Film Industry Gives Work, Doesn't Rape And Abandon". NDTV. Retrieved 3 July 2020.

External links


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