Saroj Khan's Journey As Bollywood Choreographer, Recalled Her Father Changed Her Name From Nirmala

Throwback to when eminent choreographer, late Saroj Khan had revealed unheard anecdotes from her inspiring journey to becoming the fondest dance master in Bollywood!


By Srijony Das Last Updated:


Saroj Khan's Journey As Bollywood Choreographer, Recalled Her Father Changed Her Name From Nirmala

Saroj Khan has been one of the rarest gems in the history of dance in Bollywood. She has used her unparalleled skills to choreograph some of the iconic hit numbers in the Hindi film industry, which include Ek Do Teen, Dola Re Dola, Yeh Ishq Hai, Nimbooda among so many other chartbusters. Moreover, with all of her coaching, she had made great rapport with many famous divas from every generation, like Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Rekha, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and others, who hailed her respectfully as masterji. However, despite being the epitome of talent, Saroj Khan had never received any formal training, yet she stunned the audience with eye-catching hook steps. And the late choreographer once spoke about the same in an interview.

Saroj Khan had made her debut as a child artist when she was two years old


Interestingly, Saroj had made her baby steps into the world of glamour not as a dancer, but as a child artist. In an old interview with India Forums, she had recalled her childhood where she came from an erstwhile conservative family who migrated from Pakistan post-partition. Thereafter, she also mentioned how her parents recognised her gifted talents and willingly put her in as a child actor. In her words:

“My parents moved to India from Pakistan after partition. My father, Kishanchand Sadhu Singh was a Punjabi, while my mother, Noni, a Sindhi. My father had a flourishing business in Pakistan but he had to leave everything behind when he came to India. I was born in India. Even as a two-year-old child, I loved to dance. Since we were in dire straits, my parents put me in films. I was three when I got my first break in Nazrana. I played the little Shyama, sitting on the moon and singing a song."

Recommended Read: When Saroj Khan And Rekha's Fight Left The Actress In Tears, What She Did After Went Down In History

Saroj Khan’s name was changed from Nirmala due to her orthodox family background


Revealing another very interesting facet of her life, Saroj Khan recalled how her father had to change her name from Nirmala Nagpal to Saroj since they came from a very orthodox family. She mentioned how despite her parents having decided to make the bold move of letting their daughter take part in the film industry, they had to change her name so that this bit of information would stay hidden from the rest of the family. Saroj mentioned:

“My original name was Nirmala. My father changed my name to Saroj when he put me in the movies, so that his orthodox family would not know the truth about his little daughter working in films, which was not considered very respectable in those days. From a child-artiste, I became a group dancer and then graduated to being an assistant dance master and finally dance master." 

Saroj Khan had received no formal training for her dance skills


While Saroj Khan has guided so many actors on the silver screen to serve some killer moves in various dance forms, it is quite surprising to know that in her real life, she had received no formal training in so many dance forms. It was only through her dance master-turned-husband that she learnt all of it. Speaking about it, she mentioned:

“To date, I haven't taken any formal training in dance. I learned my dance from the well-known dance master B Sohanlal. He taught me the basics of Kathak, Kathakali, Manipuri, Bharata Natyam etc.”

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13-year-old Saroj Khan had married her 43-year-old dance master


Coming to her personal life, the talented choreographer had tied the knot when she was barely 13 years old. Moreover, since she was so young, she came to know that her husband and former dance teacher, B Sohanlal was already married beforehand when she gave birth to her first child with him. Recalling the strange circumstances of her wedding and life thereafter, she had mentioned:

“I was barely 13, a schoolgirl, when I married master Sohanlal. He was 43 at that time. I did not know what marriage meant at that time. He just put a black thread around my neck one day and I thought I was married. He didn't tell me that he was already married with four kids. I learned about his first wife only when I gave birth to my first child, my son Raju Khan, in 1963. I was 14 then, too young to comprehend or handle the complicated situation." 

While Saroj Khan might have left the mortal plane, she continues to live in our hearts through the memories of her talented dance skills!

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