First female Bollywood choreographer started at 13

MUMBAI • Bollywood's first female choreographer Saroj Khan, whose dance routines breathed life into hundreds of films, died last Friday.

She choreographed more than 2,000 numbers during a 40-year career that saw her work with superstars like Madhuri Dixit and Anil Kapoor, to create dazzling song-and-dance routines that are a distinctive feature of Hindi films.

Khan, 71, was admitted to hospital in Mumbai on Thursday after complaining of respiratory problems. She died after suffering cardiac arrest, said a spokesman.

Born Nirmala Nagpal, she started as a child actor at age three, but took to dancing instead, joining as a back-up dancer before becoming an assistant choreographer at 13.

She reportedly changed her name to Saroj to avoid the censure of conservative relatives who did not approve of her career choice.

She fell in love with B. Sohanlal, her much older mentor who was a married father of four. Stung by his refusal to leave his first wife, Khan became a single mother to their two children while still in her teens and walked out of the relationship to start working on her own.

She got her break in 1974 with Geeta Mera Naam (Geeta Is My Name), becoming the first female choreographer in Bollywood. She had no formal training in classical dance, but learnt on the job and hit the big time in the 1980s, when her collaborations withRead More – Source