Saroj Khan’s last song Kalank’s Tabah Ho Gaye a spectacular specimen of classical Bollywood
On World Dance Day last year, late Saroj Khan has posted a picture of herself taking a dance pose and had written: ‘Dance isn’t about the feet dancing or the body moving, it’s about the soul talking’. In many ways, her dance numbers spoke and were not mere spectacles to behold. Till the end, she stuck to her belief as was evident in her last work Kalank as well.
Kalank, the lavishly mounted visual treat from Dharma Productions, boasted of a galaxy of stars (Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapur) but the film sank at the box office. It is hard to say what didn’t work out - may be its worn-out Partition tale, illegitimate child angle, Hindu-Muslim angle - didn’t quite find favour with the younger multiplex visiting urban audience. However, what did stand out were three things - its lavish sets, its jaw-dropping designs and costumes and, finally, the dance sequences.
Saroj Khan is credited to have choreographed the song Tabah Ho Gaye, picturised on Madhuri Dixit. Needless to say, it is a throwback to older times. In full display are Madhuri’s expressions as she bemourns the neglect of her beloved and talks of her abject misery. As Madhuri and assorted group of dancers move, Kathak’s beauty comes flooding in. Saroj gave a free run to classical moves - the leg work, the chakkars - as Madhuri matched the dance form’s challenge with dexterity.
Looks like not all had forgotten Saroj - Kangana Ranaut had taken the ace choreographer’s help for her ambitious Manikarnika, as had Aanand L Rai in his Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Sadly, India had changed, irreparably perhaps. With Kalank failing at the ticket windows, Saroj’s return to arclights too seemed bleak.
The world will remember Saroj, in the years to come, as a choreographer who made dance a language of its own.
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