Mumbai, July 03: Bollywood woke up to the shock news of their beloved 'masterji' Saroj Khan's death on Friday, with actors Madhuri Dixit, Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, and others remembering the role played by the veteran choreographer in their life and career.
Khan, the name behind some of the most famous songs in Bollywood such as "Dhak Dhak" and "Ek Do Teen", died following a cardiac arrest early on Friday morning. She was 71.
Madhuri, one of the frequent collaborators of Khan, said she is saddened by the loss of her "friend" and "guru", who helped her realize her potential.
"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. My sincere condolences to the family. #RIPSAROJJI" she tweeted.
The duo collaborated on a number of hits songs, such as "Ek Do Teen" in "Tezaab", "Tamma Tamma Loge" in "Thanedar", "Dhak Dhak Karne Laga" in "Beta" and "Dola Re Dola" from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas".
Superstar Akshay Kumar termed Khan's demise as a "huge loss" to the industry.
"Woke up to the sad news that legendary choreographer #SarojKhan Ji is no more. She made the dance look easy almost like anybody can dance, a huge loss for the industry. May her soul rest in peace," he tweeted.
Khan's broke into the industry with Sridevi's Hawa Hawai song from Shekhar Kapur's 1987 hit "Mr. India" and the filmmaker also paid a tribute to the choreographer.
"She defined a generation of heroines. Certainly, #MrIndia would not have been the same film without #SarojKhan. You had to see her dance as she rehearsed with Sridevi. She was mesmerizing. And what energy! You could shoot all night, yet she smiled and danced constantly fresh," the director said.
Kareena Kapoor Khan, whose hit track "Yeh Ishq Haaye" from "Jab We Met" was choreographed by Khan, shared a photo with the veteran on Instagram.
"Masterji always told me 'If you can't move your feet, move your face'. That's what she taught me... to enjoy dancing, smile, and smile through the eyes. There can never be another... Dance and expression can never be the same for us actors and for everyone who loved her... Love you Masterji. Till we dance again?" the actor wrote in the caption.
Choreographer Farah Khan said she was among the countless artists who were inspired by Khan's work.
"Rest in peace Sarojji... You were an inspiration to many, myself included. Thank you for the songs," she wrote on Twitter.
Choreographer-turned-filmmaker Remo D'Souza said, "#RIP Saroji, you will be missed... Big loss to dance fraternity."
Actor Taapsee Pannu said she will forever cherish the memories of working with the veteran choreographer.
"At least I had a chance to dance in your company. I am going to hold on to those memories tight... real tight. We lose another star in the sky. Your songs will make every girl remember you forever and ever," the actor tweeted.
Abhishek Bachchan recalled that his first-ever song sequence for a film was choreographed by Khan and said he learned so much from her.
"My first ever song was choreographed by Saroj Ji. And then so many more. You taught me so much. I will miss you, Saroj Ji. May you rest in peace," he tweeted.
Director Hansal Mehta wrote, "An era is over. RIP Saroj Khan."
Nimrat Kaur said there will be no one in the industry who could do what Khan did in her lifetime.
"Saroj Ji's name introduced the word choreographer' to my life. A genius who immortalized stars and the music that defined an era with her iconic work. May her loved ones find strength and courage at this terrible hour. There'll never be another...#RIPSarojKhan #Legend #Masterji" she said.
South superstar Mahesh Babu said Khan's "timeless classics" will continue to inspire artists for years to come.
"Saddened to hear about the demise of ace choreographer #SarojKhan... Her timeless classics will continue to inspire generations to come. The end of an era... Heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones. RIP Saroj Khan."
Veteran actor Shabana Azmi remembered Khan as one of the "finest choreographers" of the industry.
"Tremendous grace and a mobile face with quicksilver expressions were her hallmarks. I worked with her very early in my career and she was immeasurably patient and kind. RIP #Saroj Khan," she tweeted.
Genelia Deshmukh said she is grateful to have worked with the legendary artiste.
"RIP Saroji ... I thank God I got a chance to be choreographed by you. Prayers and Strength to the Family... Saroj Khan" she said.
"Woke up to the heartbreaking news of the legendary choreographer #SarojKhan's demise. Her iconic dance moves inspired me at a very young age. Rest in peace Saroj Ji. You are truly irreplaceable," tweeted Tamannaah Bhatia.
Rakul Preet Singh mourned that her dream of working with Khan will remain unfulfilled.
"Always dreamt of doing at least one song Choreographed by her. Your grace and contribution to Indian cinema shall always be remembered. May your soul RIP. Strength to the family," she said.
Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta said he learned a lot while working with Khan.
"The first song I conceived 'Tamma Tamma Loge' to 'Dil Dil Dil' the first song of my debut film 'Aatish' we're choreographed by the legendary Saroj Khan. Learned so much from her. RIP Saroj Ji and keep smiling like you always did," he wrote on the micro-blogging site.
Khan, a three-time National Award winner, was not keeping well for some time. She was admitted to Guru Nanak Hospital in Bandra last Saturday after she complained of breathing issues. She had tested negative for Covid-19.
The veteran choreographer is survived by son Raju Khan and daughter Sukaina Khan.
Her funeral was held on Friday morning at a cemetery in suburban Malad.