Saroj Khan

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Saroj Khan
Saroj khan nachle ve with saroj khan (cropped).jpg
Khan in 2012
Nirmala Nagpal

(1948-11-22)22 November 1948
Died3 July 2020(2020-07-03) (aged 71) [1]
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Years active1958–2020
(m. 1961;sep. 1965)

Sardar Roshan Khan
(m. 1975;her death 2020)
Children3 (2 with Sohanlal, 1 with Khan)

Saroj Khan (born Nirmala Nagpal; 22 November 1948 – 3 July 2020) [2] was an Indian dance choreographer in Hindi cinema. [3] She was born in Bombay State (present day Maharashtra), India. She was best known for Dance Form Mujra [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] and the first woman choreographer in Bollywood. [9] With a career spanning over forty years, she choreographed more than 3000 songs. She died on 3 July 2020 of a sudden cardiac arrest. [10] [11] [12]


Early life and career

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, [13] 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. [14] After having three children (including one that died as an infant), [15] the couple separated; after their separation, she married businessman Sardar Roshan Khan in 1975 and changed her name after converting to Islam. They couple have one child together: a daughter, Sukaina khan, who is known to run a dance institute in Dubai. [16] Later, she moved to choreography, first as an assistant choreographer and later getting her break as an independent choreographer, with Sadhana Shivdasani's 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) [17] and Dhak Dhak Karne Laga in Beta (1992). Thereafter, she went on to become one of the most successful Bollywood choreographers. [13] [18]

In 2014, Khan worked with Madhuri Dixit again in Gulaab Gang . [19] She was on the advisory board of Rishihood University. [20]

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. [21] [22]

She appeared in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah as a judge in a dance competition. [23]

She won three National Film Awards and eight Filmfare Awards, the most recognition of any choreographer. [9]


Saroj Khan was admitted to Guru Nanak Hospital at Bandra, Mumbai on 17 June 2020, because of breathing difficulties, and died of cardiac arrest on 3 July 2020. [24] She was 71 and is survived by son Raju Khan and daughter Sukaina Khan. She outlived her daughter Hina Khan aka Cuckoo, who died in February 2019. [25] [26]

Selected filmography

As writer

Awards and recognitions

Khan receiving National Film Award for Best Choreography for Dola Re Dola by President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in December 2003. The President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam presenting the Best Choreography Award for the year 2002 to SAROJ KHAN for the number 'Dola re Dola' in 'Devdas' for her creation of captivating dance movements to reflect the spirit of the.jpg
Khan receiving National Film Award for Best Choreography for Dola Re Dola by President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in December 2003.

Saroj Khan was the recipient of the most National Film Awards for Best Choreography with three wins. [27]

YearFilmNominated workCategoryResultRef.
2003 Devdas "Dola Re Dola" Best Choreography Won [28]
2006 Sringaram All songsWon [29]
2008 Jab We Met "Yeh Ishq Haaye"Won [30]

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. [31]

American Choreography Award

Nandi Awards

Zee Cine Award for Best Choreography

Kalakar Awards

IIFA Awards


In April 2018, Khan made statements defending the practice of casting couch, [32] stating that the film industry provides people employment and "doesn’t rape and abandon" them. Following online backlash, she apologised for her comments. [33]

See also

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  3. "Ace choreographer Saroj Khan passes away due to cardiac arrest in Mumbai". The Times of India . 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  4. "Madhuri to break into mujra only once when Varun enters kotha in Kalank, Saroj Khan gives spoilers". News Nation English. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  5. Aug 24, Natasha CoutinhoNatasha Coutinho / Updated; 2018; Ist, 09:01. "Madhuri Dixit, Saroj Khan reunite for a mujra". Pune Mirror. Retrieved 21 July 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. "Kalank: Madhuri Dixit's mujra song to be choreographed by Remo and Saroj Khan". Deccan Chronicle. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
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  10. "Woman behind Bollywood's biggest dance numbers dies". BBC News. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
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  18. Shoma A. Chatterji (28 October 2012). "Diva of Dance". The Tribune. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
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  20. "Board of Advisors". Rishihood University. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  21. "She's the Dancing Queen". The Indian Express. 1 April 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  22. "The real 'Dhak Dhak' girl". MiD DAY. 15 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
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  28. "50th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  29. "53rd National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  30. "55th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
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  32. "Saroj Khan defends casting couch in Bollywood, says it at least provides livelihood". The Indian Express. 24 April 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
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