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Veteran choreographer Saroj Khan passes away at 71

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Renowned choreographer Saroj Khan died of cardiac arrest on Friday morning.

She was 71.

The three-time National Award winner was unwell for some time. She was admitted to Guru Nanak Hospital in Bandra on June 20 after she complained of breathing problems. She had tested negative for COVID-19. Her funeral was held on Friday morning at a cemetery in suburban Malad. Mourning her death, actor Akshay Kumar said she made dance look easy and accessible. "Woke up to the sad news that legendary choreographer #SarojKhan ji is no more. She made dance look easy, almost like anybody can dance, a huge loss for the industry. May her soul rest in peace," Akshay tweeted.

Actor Suniel Shetty called Khan a true guru. "You are loved... You are irreplaceable... A true Guru," he wrote. Director Kunal Kohli, who worked with the choreographer on "Fanaa", remembered Khan as someone who stood up for people's rights. "She stood up for the rights of people. Never bothered who was a star or not. She said her bit unadulterated and from the heart. Brought biryani on every song and fed the whole crew so lovingly.We gossiped, we worked. Thank you for the memories masterji. Saroj Khan love you always," he tweeted.

In a career spanning over four decades, Khan, who was known as Masterji, choreographed more than 2,000 songs. Khan's best work was with actors Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit, the prominent dancing stars of the 80s and 90s.

Saroj Khan began her career in the film industry as a child artiste at the age of three and later worked as a background dancer.

She got her first break as an independent choreographer with Geeta Mera Naam in 1974. But it was Sridevi's Hawa Hawai song in 1987 film Mr India that made her receive acclaim as a dance choreographer.

She choreographed Sridevi in films such as Nagina and Chandni. It was her work with Madhuri Dixit that made her famous. Starting with Ek Do Teen in Tezaab, she choreographed Madhuri in Tamma Tamma Loge in Thanedar and Dhak Dhak Karne Laga in Beta and "Dola Re Dola" from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas".

She last choreographed for "Tabaah Hogaye", featuring Madhuri from filmmaker Karan Johar's production "Kalank" in 2019.

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