Veteran Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan carved a niche for herself in the film industry. Her impeccable dancing skills will continue to be an inspiration for many. But do you know Saroj Khan was born as Nirmala Nagpal? Well, according to a report in Free Press Journal, her parents migrated to India after the partition and she started her career as a child artist at the age of three. Later, she went on to work as a background dancer.
Talking about her family, Saroj Khan had said, “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.”
Why the name change? Nirmala became Saroj as suggested by her father because he didn’t want his orthodox family to know that his daughter works as a dancer.
“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,” Saroj Khan had said.
Saroj Khan started professional dancing while working under film choreographer B Sohanlal. They due got married when she was 13 and he was 41. At that time, B Sohanlal did not tell her that he was married and had four kids.
“I was barely 13, a schoolgirl when I married master Sohanlal. 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,” said Saroj Khan.
“In 1965, I gave birth to my second child, a daughter who died within eight months of birth. Around that time, Sohanlal and I parted ways as he refused to give my children his name. Towards the end of 1969, he approached me again to be his assistant. When I refused, he lodged a complaint against me with the Cine Dancer's Association. I resigned myself and started working with him again. Around that time, he suffered a heart attack. I went to see him and there was that one night when I was with him. I conceived my daughter, Kuku. After that he completely disappeared from my life and settled in Madras,” she added.
The ace choreographer, 71, died of cardiac arrest in the wee hours of Friday morning. She is survived by son Raju Khan and daughter Sukaina Khan. "We buried her at around 7 am. The prayer meeting will be held after three days," Sukaina told PTI.