Tuesday, October 26, 2021

10 Saroj Khan songs that will want you to do a jig

She was the Queen of Hindi film song choreography. Narendra Kusnur lists videos of her songs that defined her work

When it came to Bollywood choreography, the name Saroj Khan spelt magic. Not surprisingly, her biggest hits were filmed on the three biggest heroines of their time – Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai.

Khan, who passed away on Friday, left behind numerous memories. Most of her hits featured large groups of dancers, and that required attention towards everyone who appeared on screen. Often aided by lavish sets, be they clubby hangouts or palatial spaces, she contributed to the success of many songs, just by getting the dance moves right.

Here, we chronologically choose 10 songs that defined her work. Many were created in the late 1980s and early 1990s when she was at her peak, and the competition was less. But she maintained her status till last year when she worked on songs in Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi and Kalank. 


1. Hawa Hawai – Mr India (1987)


“Bijli giraane main hoon aayee, kehte hain mujhko hawa hawai”, sang Kavita Krishnamurthy, as Sridevi danced stylishly. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s music, Javed Akhtar’s words and the large group ambience blended perfectly.



2. Ek Do Teen – Tezaab (1988)

The song that literally shot Madhuri Dixit to superstardom. One remembers the crowd chanting ‘Mohini’ and Dixit beginning a ramp dance in a pink outfit. Khan’s choreography was in tandem with the Laxmikant-Pyarelal-Javed Akhtar combination.

Link – https://youtu.be/MS5BLS2sIDM 


3. Mere Haathon Mein – Chandni (1989)

The Yash Chopra film had Sridevi doing classical dance in a wedding set-up. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice, Shiv-Hari’s music and Anand Bakshi’s lyrics suited the ambience, and Khan got the best out of the actress.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo-WHs3bw34[/embedyt] 


4. Dhak Dhak – Beta (1992)

Thanks to the dance moves of this song, Madhuri Dixit began to be called the ‘dhak dhak girl’. The tree-laden setting and Anil Kapoor’s presence added to the aura, as Anand-Milind composed the song sung by Anuradha Paudwal and Udit Narayan. 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFsjO1ZELXU[/embedyt] 


5. Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen – Baazigar (1993)

One of the early hits picturised on Shah Rukh Khan, this also featured Kajol in an indoor club set. Kumar Sanu sang the number. Music was by Anu Malik and lyrics by Dev Kohli. The story goes that Kajol got Saroj Khan’s suggestions right in the first take.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhKXq5dhTag [/embedyt]


6. Choli Ke Peeche – Khal Nayak (1993)

The song attracted controversy because of its lyrics, written by Anand Bakshi, but Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s tune sung by Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun was a huge hit. Khan got Madhuri Dixit, Neena Gupta and Rajasthani folk dancers to do some amazing steps with Sanjay Dutt watching.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rPaq8TZ6Kg[/embedyt] 


7. Nimbooda – Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)

Based on a Rajasthani folk song improvised by music director Ismail Darbar and lyricist Mehboob, this tune was lavishly set and picturised on Aishwarya Rai and Ajay Devgan. Singer Kavita Krishnamurthy excelled.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLsIl0G0qlM[/embedyt]


8. Radha Kaise Na Jale – Lagaan (2000)

A folk dance picturised on Aamir Khan and Gracy Singh in a village setting, the music was composed by A.R. Rahman with lyrics by Javed Akhtar. Sung by Udit Narayan and Asha Bhosle, it was very gracefully performed under Saroj Khan’s directives.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNnvL0ztJhA[/embedyt]


9. Dola Re Dola – Devdas (2002)

One of Saroj Khan’s most memorable works as she extracted great dance steps from both Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit. Composed by Ismail Darbar, written by Nusrat Badr and sung by Shreya Ghoshal, Kavita Krishnamurthy and KK, the song had a typical Sanjay Leela Bhansali grandeur.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58qky-vPSkE [/embedyt]


10. Barso Re – Guru (2007)

Unlike many Saroj Khan hits, this was not a group song but filmed almost solo on Aishwarya Rai, barring two shots. Shreya Ghoshal was accompanied by Uday Mazumdar, with Rahman providing music and Gulzar lyrics. The dance steps inspired many youngsters.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCkM1wDc880[/embedyt]

Narendra Kusnur
Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon, so to speak, Naren, who dubs himself Kaansen, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier.

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