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Saroj Khan, My 1st Dancing Guru Taught Me That An ‘Ideal Body Shape’ Isn’t Necessary To Dance

Posted: July 13, 2020

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Seeing Saroj Khan was believing that dancing actually had nothing to do with one’s body weight or shape. If one had the desire to dance, one could dance.

At 4, you taught me “ek, do teen…”
At 10, I was twirling to “chane ke khet mein.”
At 15, it was all about “dil ye bechain ve…”
At 20, I had danced at least ten times to “dola re dola de dola“ before I mastered each of those moves…

Now that I think about it, your moves through those actors gave me the joy I could have never experienced otherwise.

All through the 90s and even the 2000s, I would wait for the next Saroj Khan song so that I could learn some new steps that would always be a hit among girls.

The ‘bindaas’ dancer

I must have been pretty young when I first saw her on TV in an interview. I was shocked to see that behind the petite actors dancing away to glory, there was this woman who didn’t fall in the ‘ideal’ body shape category of a dancer.

Because before I saw her, having a slender waist meant more flexibility in terms of dancing. I thought the more petite I am, the better dancer I can be.

Seeing her was believing that dancing actually had nothing to do with one’s body weight or shape. If one had the desire to dance, one could dance.

It was empowering and also heartening to know that behind all the songs I had been performing on, both in front of the mirror and in front of people at various gatherings, was this woman who didn’t even think about her body type.

She was so bindaas in that interview and I was a fan girl for life!

An empowering realisation for a girl growing up

The delightful way in which she taught those actors how to move to the rhythm of a song was encouraging enough for me to dream of becoming a choreographer.

Of course, I wasn’t able to pursue that dream because parents in the 90s weren’t too keen on having their daughter make a career in dance.

But she remained my inspiration and I think I’ve to give it to her for never letting my dream of dancing die.

Dance is such an integral part of who I am and even today, with a toddler in tandem, I can start dancing at the drop of a hat anywhere anytime. From my toddler doing her ‘happy’ dance since she was 1.5 years old to making friends who’ve joined me in dancing on the streets and in our hostel corridor at 2 AM, the little girl in me will always be indebted to Saroj Khan for introducing me to dancing through that “ek do teen” song we watched on our black and white TV in the 90s.

Be it “mera piya ghar aaya” or “akhiyan milaye kabhi akhiyan churaye,” your moves will always bring a smile to my face.

Thank you is the smallest way I can pay a tribute to all that you were to the girls growing up in the 90s.

You made them stand in front of the mirror and copy your choreography a hundred times before they got it right! I know I did.

Rest In Peace my first dancing guru.

Image source: YouTube

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A former journalist, a freelance content creator and a mom blogger who can be found

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