Saroj Khan, choreographer behind hundreds of Bollywood hits, dies aged 71

Written by Rob PichetaManveena Suri, CNN

Saroj Khan, a celebrated Indian choreographer behind some of Bollywood’s biggest productions, has died aged 71, her doctor has told CNN.

Khan choreographed hundreds of musical numbers during a career that spanned four decades, with some of India’s biggest stars dancing to her direction.

She died from a cardiac arrest at Guru Nanak Hospital in Mumbai on Friday, Narendra Sharma, one of her doctors, told CNN. Khan had been suffering from diabetes and was undergoing dialysis, Sharma said. He said she was battling an infection, which eventually led to cardiac arrest.

Khan had twice been tested for Covid-19 but both tests were negative, Sharma added.

Hit songs including “Dola Re Dola” from the movie “Devdas,” and “Yeh Ishq Haye” from the 2007 comedy “Jab We Met (When We Met)” were crafted under Khan’s choreography.

She also became known as a mentor to some of Bollywood’s most famous faces. Khan worked alongside late performer Sridevi in several titles, including “Mr. India,” ” Chandni” and “Lamhe,” and choreographed Bollywood veteran Madhuri Dixit in dozens more.

Dixit was among the stars to pay tribute to Khan on Friday, writing: “I’m devastated by the loss of my friend and guru, Saroj Khan. Will always be grateful for her work in helping me reach my full potential in dance. The world has lost an amazingly talented person. I will miss you.”

“Woke up to the sad news that legendary choreographer #SarojKhan is no more,” added actor Akshay Kumar, who worked alongside her on several productions. “She made dance look easy almost like anybody can dance, a huge loss for the industry. May her soul rest in peace.”

“Every time I got to know you would be choreographing the song I stepped up an extra notch,” said singer Shreya Ghoshal. “You brought nuances, expressions, grace on screen with your heroines. The end of an era.”

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