It is all about imagination, says Saroj Khan on the declining standards of choreography
Veteran choreographer and one of Indian film industry’s most well known faces, Saroj Khan, was at Genesis Global School, Noida to mark the start of her dance classes, ‘Dance Gurukool’, in the institution.
Expressing her concern on how vulgarity has gripped dance numbers in film industry, she tells us how she managed to stay clear of obscene gestures. “It depends on your imagination. If I want to concentrate only on dance then all my efforts will go towards dance movements only. I will not listen to the words that are vulgar. If the singer says, ‘Choli ke peeche kya hai’, I will not think about bust, I will imagine heart. That will keep me away from vulgarity,” she laughs.
The three time recipient of the National Award for Best Choreography feels things have changed for worse when it comes to choreography in films, “Earlier people didn’t know how to dance, they would stand near a tree and just sway. I would prefer if they would go back to that age rather than what they are doing now. The Hip Hop, Salsa and other so-called contemporary dances are spoiling our culture. Even if the words are Indian, they break it into something like “Anarkali disco chali”, They won’t say “Anarkali Kathak karne chali”. They break it according to western perception and that results in dance losing its essence.”
Recently, Vishal Bhardwaj changed the choreography of a song choreographed by Khan in Matru Ki Bijlee ka Mandola. Saroj says, “Choreographers always work as per the suggestions given by the director and he did not give any while we were making the song. Three months later I got a letter from him that the song has been scrapped. At the end of the day, a movie is a director’s baby, he makes the final call.”
Coming back to kids, Saroj muses, “A good dancer should be able to study movements with eyes and have a good memory.” Elucidating on the parameters which she keeps in mind while judging dance reality shows, she says, “I believe that a child should be able to imbibe the culture.” Saroj would be teaching kids on alternate days at the summer camp, which costs Rs.5500 per student.