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“It’s Like Losing My Mother,”  Ahmed Khan Remembers Saroj Khan!



“It’s Like Losing My Mother,”  Ahmed Khan Remembers Saroj Khan! 12

Ahmed Khan can’t believe Saroj Khan is  gone!

“I  got to know of her death  at midnight.  I rushed to the kabristan(graveyard) in  the morning.I have just returned, numbed. It has  still not sunk in.I knew  she was keeping ill health. I wanted to  visit her in the hospital  but couldn’t because  of  the  Kovid lockdown. Now I’ll never see her,” says Ahmed sorrowfully.

Saroj Khan  was  like  a mother  to Ahmed. “Everything I know  about choreography I  learnt from her.At the age  of  12 ,I was watching her do the choreography  of  Kate nahin kat-te in  Mr India. I was a  child actor in that  film. Though I was too young to understand what was  going on I could feel the  uniqueness of  the body language, the  urgency of  the movements.I knew then and there that I wanted  to be  a  choreographer.”

At  16, Ahmed began assisting Saroj Khan.  “I  was a child bewildered  and lost .She mothered me. She nurtured my talent. I was  just like her own son(choreographer Raju Khan). Whatever I know about choreography I learnt from Sarojji.She  gave  choreography in Indian cinema a name, face and place.All of us  (choreographers)  owe  our careers  to her.”

Ahmed  got a chance to  repay some of  Saroj Khan’s debt  two years ago. “In Baaghi 2 I got a chance  to do my  homage to  Sarojji’s iconic Ek do teen chaar  from Tezaab I  was so nervous . I thought he  would be angry. But she  was  not upset. I went to her house with a  cheque  ,  a token  gesture  of  appreciation(the ‘token  amount’ , I am told,  was  20 lakhs).I  knelt before her and gave her the  cheque in her hand. I  cannot tell  you the emotions I felt  at that moment. Sarojji was  my guru and  a mother-figure. There were  other great choreographers  before her. But what she did to Bollywood choreography was  historic.”

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