The ‘Living Legend’ who taught all the Big Actresses how to Dance on her Finger-Tips.. Who made Dancing Diva’s such as Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit.. Who gave Shah Rukh Khan the ‘Romantic’ Stretched Arm’s.. Choreographer Saroj Khan makes a Heart-To-Heart conversations like never before with Faisal Saif.
So you started as a Child-Actor?
Yes. It was even before Baby Naaz started, I became a Child-Actor. From that day, My family started to move-on on the Financial Levels. My father was diagnosed with Cancer which we came to know very late. I was hardly six years old, His voice suddenly stopped. My mother had given birth to another four girls and one boy and my father passed away.
But when and how did your actual Dancing Journey started?
The first group dance i did was in Howrah Bridge with Madhubala. In 1963, When i was 14 years old, I started my Choreography career under the guidance of Mr.P.L.Santoshiji. I hold my Ear’s because i take Mr.P.L.Santoshi as my ‘Teacher’. I was teaching Sadhna in those days and she directed a film called ‘Geeta Mera Naam’ with Sunil Dutt and Feroz Khan. The producer was R.K.Nayyar. Sadhna told Mr.Nayyar very clearly that i don’t need any choreographer and she will do all the songs with me. Nayyar told Sadhna that i was not having the Association card of a ‘Dance-Director’, Sadhna personally went to the association, Filled the required forms, Submitted the Fee and i was the Choreographer.
How come many of them from Bollywood are unaware of this fact?
That’s because i was never bothered to tell this story to anyone! Till i clicked as Saroj Khan, I was working. I mean i had movies under my belt. I was not working with people like Subhash (Ghai) Sahab, Nayyar Sahab, Chandra (Barot) Sahab so the level was less, But work was always going on. I was working with stars such as Vinod Mehra and Bindya Goswami.
And When did Subhash Ghai noticed you?
One day i got a call from Subhash Ghai for his film ‘Vidhaata’ and the song was ‘Udee Baba’ and later on ‘Saat Saheliyaan’. I was committed somewhere else and i told Subhashji my position very clearly. Subhashji became very annoyed because refusing Subhashji was a big thing in those days and i refused him twice. But i made him understand my position, He understood it and respected me and offered me the other song in the same film. The song was ‘Pyaar Ka Imtihaan’ which was filmed on Sarika.
Immediately after Vidhaata, Subhash Ghai announced his home production ‘Hero’ with Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Seshadhri. I became permanent with him. In those days, The highest paid Dance Director was Kamal who used to charge 25,000/- per song. But I was the first Dance-Director who negotiated with Subhashji on 20% Raise on every new film made under his banner.
According to you, Who was the most comfortable actor or actress in the 80’s era?
The actress i would say was Madhuri Dixit who was very comfortable in working with. And the actor was Govinda. These two were the actors who used to give me an automatic magical energy. They used to perform any difficult step with the most at-ease comfort.
And any particular Actor who you thought won’t make it Big?
(Smiles) Jackie Shroff. I also whispered Subhashji on the sets of ‘Hero’ that “Isko Kahaan Se Pakad Kar Le Aaye” (Where did you got him from?).
You also wanted to become a Director?
I was not comfortable. I had a script with me which i was confident about. That script would have rocked our Nation. I took my script to UTV Pictures. But Priyanka Chopra never showed the green light to me. In a way, She ditched me at the last minute. And for me, Priyanka Chopra was my first and the last choice for my film.
And you have no Regrets..
Absolutely Not. I thanked god for making me understand that i am not ready for this big step.
Whoever has followed Saroj Khan’s step in Bollywood, Is Sitting on a Throne..
It feels really good about it. But my request to everyone is, Please don’t make a sensuous song fall into a Cheap category by filming it that way. For example when i saw ‘Chikni Chameli’ for the first time, I really liked it. But some Cheap moments were repeated and later it started looking Cheap.