Her Nachle Ve was the first show on the newly launched NDTV Imagine. Here’s Saroj Khan with her razor sharp comments... in conversation with Rachana Dubey
Nachle Ve is a trendsetter of sorts in that it's the first show that teaches you how to dance. Wouldn't it have found a bigger draw on a more established platform?
It's NDTV Imagine's concept, I'm just the masterji. So there was no question of selling it to someone else.
Has the concept of choreography changed?
I don't know about that but I do observe that our heroines are less inhibited now. They don't mind being touched intimately by their leading men. Not that I need to resort to any kind of vulgarity to make a song look sensuous.
You've cut down on your work drastically of late. Madhuri Dixit went on record to say that she missed you during Aaja
That's sweet of her. We miss each other. I haven't really cut down on films. I do whatever I like. I'm choreographing for Maan Gaye Mughal-e-Azam, Zindagi Tere Sang, Pranali and a few other films.
After Veer Zaara, you haven't choreographed for the Yashraj Banner, have you?
I choreographed Veer Zaara because Yash Chopra was directing it. I did Fanaa after that again because it was produced by Yash Chopra. Vaibhavi Merchant now has a contract with Aditya Chopra.. so she's choreographing their movies.
If a producer or director believes that I can't deliver, I'd rather opt out voluntarily. But that doesn't make me a bad choreographer.
You were pretty cut up about Vaibhavi Merchant choreographing Madhuri Dixit's comeback film?
Why should I feel bad because the producer preferred her? They didn't approach me for
Dil To Pagal Hai
either. I didn't pick up the phone then to rave and rant. So why should anyone think that I'd call up Madhuri or anyone else this time to complain? I didn't.
A young choreographer once said that you weren't keen on younger talent intruding into your territory?
When did I stunt anyone's growth? I don't know who this choreographer is but I'm sure he or she is the one who's insecure because even today there are makers who willingly opt for Saroj Khan.
When Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan entered the industry Mr Bachchan didn't try to cut them out. There's space for everyone here but it's your work that takes you to the top. I'd advise this young choreographer to create something of her own instead of sitting out with a DVD and recreating the same moves.
Does lobbying work?
Personally, I don't believe in it but I know it works for a lot of people today.
What about plagiarism?
You can see it yourself. It's the same moves, even similar costumes.
What's the update on your Bhojpuri movie?
The movie's been ready for a while but I don't know when they are releasing it.. if they ever will.
You were toying with the idea of directing a Hindi movie and had even approached Priyanka Chopra and Madhuri Dixit.
( Shortly ) The project has been shelved. Topic closed.
What do you think of your son, Raju Khan's directorial debut,
My son's movie went unnoticed not because he didn't work hard. He did a svelte job and I don't say this because I'm his mother. The producers didn't promote
well. Instead they blamed my son for going over-budget by Rs 1 crore.
If you see the movie, you'll realise that the production cost doesn’t even amount to Rs 1 crore. So where was the question of going over-budget?
The producers were terrible!
Are you planning to retire?
Never. I want to die in a studio.