City dance enthusiasts remember ‘Master ji’

City dance enthusiasts remember ‘Master ji’

A student seeks blessings of Saroj Khan during a dance competition, Dance pe Chance, at Ludhiana in 2011. File photo

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3

Dance was the essence of her life and today, we lost a legend and mother of choreography, Saroj Khan. Ludhiana remembers its rendezvous with the dance maestro, popularly known as “Master ji”.

It was a decade ago that Saroj Khan Dance Academy was opened in the city. The academy was managed by city-based Ruchi Bawa and memories of Master ji, her teachings to the students, her dance moves are still fresh in her mind.

Recalling the days when Ruchi opened the academy, she said in 2010, there were a lot of reality shows on dance and singing and kids were very keen on participating in these. “When I decided to open a dance academy, the first person that came to my mind was Saroj Khan and without giving a second thought, I took the franchise. All choreographers in the academy are green card holders conferred by Saroj Khan,” said Ruchi.

They held a “Dance pe chance” competition and Saroj Khan was the judge of the contest. “The way she encouraged the students who could not make it to the finals was commendable. She said being an entertainer you have to entertain the audience and keep thinking about the same. There is no room for grief, you have to get up and be ready as the show must go on,” remembers Ruchi.

“Today we lost a legend and the void can never be filled by anyone. She was a very warm and kind-hearted person and very strict when it comes to dancing,” adds Ruchi.

For another city-based dancer Sangita B Kushwaha from Sangita’s Studio of Performing Arts, Saroj Khan was her idol who made a mark in the Bollywood industry which was predominated by men. “Without any social help at that time, she struggled, came to the forefront and remained on the top slot for years. She was an inspiration for dancers like us to move ahead,” she said.

“Such powerful was her choreography that it was decided to introduce the “Best Choreography” award as her contribution to the film industry couldn’t be ignored,” said Sangita.

“Look at the power of her character that she was known as “Master ji”. Before her there was no woman choreographer and she was also addressed as “Master ji” the same as her male counterparts,” said Sangita.

A student from the academy who took part in the ‘Chance pe dance’ competition said her memories were still fresh and he had never seen an impactful dancer as her. With a heavy heart, the dance enthusiasts from the city bid adieu to their favourite Master ji.