4th July 2020

Remo D’Souza:“I Will Never Forget Choreographing Madhuri With Sarojji”

Choreographer-director  Remo D’Souza had the  unique privilege of working with the legendary Saroj Khan in her last  film.

Says Remo, “When I was  offered to do Kalank by Karan  Johar  and he mentioned  that  I’d be choreographing  a song  with  Sarojji, I was  scared and excited. Scared , because  Sarojji had sucha  larger than life persona,and she was an institution. I considered her  my grandmother .  She  was  definitely   the grandmother  of choreography in  Hindi cinema. Before she came  there were great  choreographers . But none got their due recognition. Sarojji paved the way  for all of us choreographers. If  she   hadn’t been  the force that she was, we  who came later would have continued to be  footnotes  in the credit titles.”

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So what  was  it like shooting the  song Ghar more pardesia with  the  legendary Saroj Khan?

Remo recalls  the  moment with nervousness. “There  was Sarojji  on one side, and Madhuriji on  the other . I was  just a student happy to learn  from these two legends. I  made  it very clear  that I was  in it to learn.  Sarojji was the  captain of that ship and I happily sailed along.Watching her enthusiasm and energy level  at that age was very inspiring.”

Remo admits that  ill health and lack of  work made Sarojji ill-tempered  in her later years. “But I  never saw that  side of her.She  was always very warm and affectionate towards me. She used to come home and we would all sit listening to her  reminisce  about the  old days of choreography.   Just being with her,  hearing her talk was a learning  experience.Sarojji was an institution.”

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Remo remembers when he  decided  to direct ABCD he asked Saroj Khan  to face  the camera. “She  happily agreed. She could  never  say  no to me. I had the rare privilege to get Sarojji to dance on screen  with  Prabhudheva, Ganesh Aacharya and me in ABCD. I always think of her with a happy smiling face. That’s how I want to  remember her.”

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