Mom: Show aunty that step I taught you. 

Aunty: Yes beta, don’t be shy. We’re waiting.

Beta being me, step being THAT one from Mera Piya Ghar Aaya and occasion, well, a kirtan

It was quite common back then, to extend the puja into a celebration where kids were asked to dance as women sat down and watched them. They occasionally gave us money, too.


Those were good old days, filled with drawing-room performances consisting of iconic steps from Hindi movies. 

This is where Saroj Khan enters.

As I write this today, hours after her demise, all I can think of, is how huge a role she played in the lives of people like me and my mother.

I didn’t realise the importance of it back then, but mom teaching me ek do teen right hand se karna hai and nau nau choodiyon mein hands change karo are actually one of the fondest memories of my childhood. 

She had a collection of CDs, which she used to play during my summer vacations. Her conservative nature didn’t allow her to pursue dancing as a profession but she did make sure her daughter learns at least some things from her.

Saroj Khan had a huge role to play in it.

There are many songs from Hindi movies that we remember as much, or even more, for their steps as we do for their words.

She added glory to it. Meaning, in many cases.

YouTube/Bollywood Classics

And did so, with unmatchable grace. If you go back and listen to the lyrics of some of those songs, you’d be surprised to notice how bold they are. 

But whether it was Khalnayak’s Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai or Mister India’s I Love You, the depiction on screen never made the viewers feel uncomfortable.

She always managed to take sexy and add mischief to it in a way, that only she could.

Credit, of course, also goes to immensely talented actors like Madhuri Dixit, Sri Devi and Aishwarya Rai.

Two of whom featured together in Devdas. Which brings me to another classic – Dola Re Dola. 

That literally means dancing around in circles out of happiness.

And while I am no expert in choreography, I do know you could come up a million steps to depict that.

But still, whenever the song plays, it feels like an obligation to imitate. Any other move just feels wrong.

That was Saroj Khan’s gift.


She was a perfectionist, too. If reports are anything to be believed, a whopping 48 takes had to be taken for the iconic Tamma Tamma song.

Saroj Khan was also very blunt. As evident by this post from Kareena Kapoor, where she recalls how the legendary choreographer told her: Pair nahin chala sakti toh kam se kam face toh chala (if you can’t move your feet, at least move your face?).

The two worked together in Jab We Met, which was one of her last big projects. Towards the end, she also got involved in a controversy after making an unfortunate statement.

Her contribution as a choreographer is unmatched, though, and I doubt anyone will ever reach the pedestal she did.

And today, even though she is no more, her steps are there for us to follow, and thank God for that. You never know which child is learning them from a loved one, oblivious of the fact that the joy of it is going to stay in their hearts forever.

As is the case with me. When I was a kid, I used to think that my mother came up with all those steps. I used to get really impressed. And even though I know better now, it doesn’t take away the charm of those memories.

You made that possible, Saroj Khan. Thanks for all the dances we danced because of you.