Sridevi — the full story

‘We became best of friends’

Saroj Khan, choreographer.  

I met her when I was choreographing the song ‘Maine Rab Se Tujhe’ for Karma. Her dance style was more of the [South Indian] Madras-style and we used to have to do a few retakes. But she still danced well. Then she herself said, ‘Saroj ji, please give me more rehearsals, I’m not a good dancer’. Her truthfulness took me by surprise, because no artiste likes to admit they’re not good.

We became the best of friends and had the best master-teacher relationship. We never choose our relationships. When she married, she left the industry. She came back with English Vinglish (2012) but there was no dancing in the film. My fondest memory is of the day she stopped my car and introduced her daughters saying, “Saroj ji, how are you? Here are my daughters.”

I will always remember the mornings when she would say, “Hello Saroj ji”, hold me tight and give me a kiss. Even your own child won’t do that. I will also remember a New Year's Eve party when she invited me and my six dancers to her house in Madras. She sent us flight tickets, and put me up in her house. When I woke up in the morning, there was a jewel box near my pillow. Scared that I had slept in the wrong room, I found her mother and told her about the box. She said Shree has kept it there for you. Inside was a diamond jewellery set. She also gave ₹11,000 to each of my boys.

We also played a prank on her. The boys saw her having champagne the previous night, so they pretended to be hurt by her dandiya sticks. Her father heard me telling the boys "thoda aur langdake chal’, and must have told her. When she saw the boys, she cried, “I did this?”.

At lunch, I noticed that all vessels were made of gold. She said to me, “Master ji, first you eat and then your boys will eat.” When I lifted the lid off a dish, there were stones. Another had sand and third, paper. We all burst out laughing. She was a doll. That's all I can say. She was [a wonderful] human being. I have no more words.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 1:43:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/we-became-best-of-friends/article22853087.ece

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