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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! 5

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.”