It has been twenty years since Lagaan was released. In a social media post, as a tribute to the departed, the team remembered choreographer Saroj Khan, who worked on the song Radha Kaise Na Jale. On Khan’s first death anniversary, actress Gracy Singh recalls how collaborating with her was like on the set in Bhuj and how she reacts to the new choreography videos of the song that have got her hooked on Instagram.
Radha Kaise Na Jale was the last song that was shot in the Lagaan film schedule. Gracy recalls, “I waited for Saroj ji for quite long as I wanted her to be on the set when we shot it. Finally, she came and I was very happy to meet her. During the rehearsals, she sat me down, played the track and affectionately taught me the facial expressions of the whole song. It was like dancing through the eyes. We shared a mentor-pupil relationship and I find myself to be very lucky to have learned from her.”
The team shot the song for 3-4 nights. About Khan’s working style on set, Gracy says, “It was like a celebration. She was very particular about her work but at the same time, she was a very fun loving person. She used to make sure the actors were happy and comfortable. It was a unique quality she had that she used to make even the non-dancers dance. She was never strict with us. I remember her wearing a smile on her face every time.”
Today, Gracy feels happy seeing new choreography on Radha Kaise Na Jale song, with videos being shared on social media. “I keep seeing videos all the time. Everyday, there is new choreography on the song. I have myself performed it in shows over the years and now I feel very happy seeing the different kinds of interpretations of the song.”
“I have worked with Saroj ji later in other films as well. We did classical routines. She used to bring the best out of the dancer. Her legacy is so huge that it never really feels like she isn’t with us anymore. Her contribution to the film industry has been immense. I got very attached to her. I am trained in Bharatnatyam but I learnt Kathak from her. She will remain in my heart forever. Her beautiful face still comes to my mind. She was my first dance guru and I will always remember her like that,” she concludes.