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Saroj Khan is ready for a comeback

By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Saroj Khan Has Donned A New Cap. ....She Has Finished directing a Bhojpuri film named Dil Diwana Tohar Ho Gayil. The film , shot in the UK and Mumbai is ready for release.

The star-choreographer is at home with her new vocation. "Why not direction? When the opportunity to direct a Bhojpuri film came along I agreed. Bhojpuri cinema has become massive. And the language isn't a problem. I'm really enjoying this new job. Directing a film is like choreographing without the song. Sure, you don't have the music, but all the movements , emotions and story are there in my dances."

The fact that she has worked closely as a choreographer with some of the top filmmakers helps. "Often as I take a shot I'm reminded of Subhash Ghai or Sanjay Leela Bhansali...I'm a good student and I never forget what I've observed the great directors doing...And Ravi Kishan and Nagma who star in the Bhojpuri film were very dedicated students. They took my instructions as director and choreographer very seriously."

Besides directing the film, Saroj Khan has also choreographed ten songs filmed on Nagma and Ravi Kishan. "All situational....not that I don't do item songs. In fact they started with me in Tezaab's Ek do teen...But I don't have to resort to gimmicks to get my audience. Even my soft romantic songs like Dhak dhak karne lagaa had the audience glued to their seats."

She's extremely disheartened by recent choreographic trends. "I feel dancing in our films is going down the drain. Earlier audiences watched film dances with their mouths open. Now saliva falls out of their mouths. Film dances are no longer art. They've become too commercial. Now my children have grownup . I've grandchildren. I'm only interested in doing selected films like Yashraj's Fanaa."

She doesn't much care about the trend of multiple choreographers for one film. "If they all know what they're doing it's okay. But often the dances look patchy. In Fanaa I've done all the songs except one which was shot in Poland. My doctor forbade me from going into the snowy country. I think Vaibhavi Merchant did that song."

She disapproves of the trend of choreographers allowing their assistants to compose dances. "I never did that. Farah Khan and Vaibhavi Merchant adopt any movement from their assistants that catches their fancy. If an assistant choreographs a number what right does Farah Khan have to take the award? It's good that her assistant Geeta Kapoor has branched out on her own. When I go to collect an award I do with the pride of knowing that it's rightfully mine. I never forget I've graduated from P.L. Raj-ji's school of choreography. This is the man who composed the dance for Hothon pe aisi baat. How can I let him down? Today I don't feel like putting the TV on to watch the dances. My grandchildren watch Cartoon Network rather than the film songs. I liked Aishwarya's songs. But of late even they look very strange. I was supposed to do Umrao Jaan with Aishwarya Rai. But something happened between me and Mr J.P.Dutta. So I walked out."

Why has Aishwarya stopped working with Saroj Khan? "I don't know. Maybe she no longer likes my style. I'm sure she has found better choreographers to work with...But I must say Kajra Re didn't impress me much as a dance number. Still it took away all the awards.... I took all the awards for Aaj-kal mujhko hai intezaar although the film Sailaab had flopped...Now they say Bunty Aur Babli worked because of Kajra Re. I feel like laughing at some of the awards juries. They found some of my movements vulgar and gave me awards for the same movements in another song. My fans feel main vari vari in Mangal Pandey should've been nominated for every popular award."

But Saroj Khan isn't moving out. "I'll keep choreographing until the end of my life. But I won't get into a rut. I wouldn't do dances just to earn money. Nor will I seek out work. I never did that during Sridevi and Madhuri . Why should I do it now? I feel the younger stars feel I belong to the older generation. Like Abhishek with whom I worked in Refugee and Kuch Na Kaho, prefers Vaibhavi or Remo . Maybe they feel I'm part of the past. But I like choreographing Aishwarya Rai. I like the way Priyanka Chopra dances. " She's open to more directorial ventures. "It's an enjoyable job. And I want to continue direction."

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