Terence Lewis: Saroj Khan set the gold standard for choreographers (FIRST PERSON)

(New-age choreographer Terence Lewis says Saroj Khan was a “living legend” who made choreography a “recognisable and valuable part of the film business”. Her work, he adds, has become a Bible for all choreograhers)

BY TERENCE LEWIS

Mumbai, July 4 (IANS) She was an Iron lady who was not afraid to call a spade a spade! Saroj Khan had worked incredibly hard to achieve her position, given the patriarchy in the film industry and the times she lived in.

I bow to her talent, her pulse on the music and lyrical interpretation through dance, and her knowledge of camera — to capture the essence of the beauty of dance.

She set the gold standard for all choreographers. She was a living legend in her lifetime and through her labour of love made choreography a recognisable and valuable part of the film business.

Her ability to transform the raunchiest and most salacious lyrics and give the act dignity through her craft in songs like “Dhak dhak” and “Choli ke peeche” set her apart. Her work has become a Bible for all choreographers including myself.

At a personal level, we shared a relationship of respect and I was besotted by her body of work and the power she exuded, always with wit and candour.

Her professional work was the gold standard for all film choreographers.

I was lucky that I got to know about her personal life from her, and my respect for her just increased exponentially. She spoke her mind irrespective of position and power, and did not disguise any of her opinions.

She taught me to stand up and speak the truth, and she refused to let anyone throw shade at her and was unapologetic about her choices. This is something that I am still working on. She did not tolerate any star tantrums and would not compromise on her vision unlike what happens today.

We judged a school event together a couple of years ago. She was charming as always, though health problems had slowed her down. But mentally she was as sharp as ever and her in characteristic way, she had everyone in the palm of her hand!

(As told to Durga Chakravarty)

–IANS
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