A star-studded career spanning over five decades, where she made all A-listers of Bollywood – from Vyjantimala to Anushka Sharma dance to her tunes, (literally), veteran choreographer, Saroj Khan’s words are just as sharp as her moves. Like her choreography, her words too are her own.
“I have almost stopped doing films because of the vulgarity. They want all girls to wear tiny clothes, without understanding that not all of them can carry that attire. Then they say low angle lagao. Choti si skirt hai, woh bhi udana chahte hain,” points Saroj.
The legendary dancer – who was in the city to launch her dance workshop and classes at Sonali Academy of Fine Arts (SAFA), Madhapur – adds that she prefers less but quality work.
While calling herself a director’s choreographer, ‘Masterji’ as she is popularly called, says she doesn’t mind a fight with the director if the need be. “It is all to create quality dance on screen,” she quips.
The legendary choreographer’s love for Indian dance forms is no secret. The current generation’s apathy towards it, however bothers, her. Saroj who also teaches children says it is parents’ fault that they don’t tell their children about the rich culture we have.
“Bachche aakar mujhe kehte hain ke hume hip-hop sikha do, main unhe kehti hoon ke hum dance sikhate hain, raste par bheek maagna nahi,” she says taking a dig at street dancing that is catching up in the country.
She elaborates that retaining the Indianness in dances does not essentially mean going the classical way. “One of the most attractive dance forms can be fusion. The beauty of classical dance is that it complements any type of music,” she says.
The women behind the smashing Ek, do, teen number blames the current breed of choreographers for the declining quality and lack of originality in their dance. “When I started there were 69 choreographers in our association, today there are 600. Most of these are assistants who after working under big names, go to the association and get a card certifying that they are choreographers. They lack originality,” she rues.
About her association with SAFA, she said while she will personally conduct a 11-day workshop for children, a teacher, (trained under her) would be conducting classes here.
The USP of these dance classes is that they will not only give the young dancers a solid foundation, but will also push their talent to be showcased on the small screen.
Elaborating on the process the veteran said, “We will get television people to see the talent of kids who train with us. But I don’t promise any film offers.”
Currently, 30 teachers trained by Saroj’s academy are conducting classes across the country and in the US.
As someone who has had a dream run in tinsel town, and has also made a mark on the small screen with her dance tutorial show “Nachle Ve” and as a judge on shows like “Nach Baliye”, “Boogie Woogie” and “Jhalak Dikhla jaa”-- Saroj doesn’t have qualms about calling the current slew of dance reality programmes as ‘nothing more than circus’.
So is there no hope of her returning to the small screen? “If I am given a good show I would love to,” she says enthusiastically.
This excitement however is lacking when asked if she would ever take the directors’ chair.
“Farah has taken to direction because she has the support of Shah Rukh (Khan) and Remo D’Souza has Eros to back him. I don’t have any such people guarding my back. And at the moment this area is not very creatively appealing to me,” she says, adding, “Maybe someday if I get something interesting, I might take it up.”