Picking Bollywood's favourite dancing queens
From Vyjayantimala's Honthon Mein Aisi Baat to Madhuri Dixit's Aaja Nachle, from Helen's cabarets to Sridevi's ada, there's no dearth of talent in Bollywood when it comes to dancing. And no match for it either.
Veteran choreographer to the stars Saroj Khan (top inset), who is busy with the second season of the dance reality show Nachle Ve With Saroj Khan and Terrance Lewis, takes time out to list her favourite dancing stars.
Image: Collage of Madhuri Dixit, Saroj Khan,Vyjayanthimala and Ashwarya Rai Bachchan
'Aishwarya is a perfect dancer'
I got to know Aishwarya during the filming of Aur Pyar Ho Gaya. She wasn't a dancer then, but I gradually trained her. She is a good learner. She has a flexible body and is a perfect dancer.
We have worked together in a lot of films. I liked her best in the Nimboda Nimboda song (from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) and Dola Re Dola (Devdas).
Image: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
'Madhuri is the only one with whom I could experiment'
Madhuri Dixit was like my shadow. She came to me when she was a kid. We became friends and after that we worked together in almost all of her films.
She has become very polished and her dance moves are like the flow of water, complete with perfect facial expressions.
She is a kind of dancer who looks fantastic no matter what she does and how she moves.
Of the many actors I have choreographed, she is the only one with whom I could experiment. I have given her so many weird dance steps, but she did them with ease and without complaints.
Image: Madhuri Dixit
'The first shot of Sridevi's dance took 13 takes'
Sridevi is a doll with a golden heart.
I worked with her for the first time in Karma. Subhash Ghai (director) called to say that he wanted me to choreograph a song to be shot in Kashmir. I asked him who the heroine was and he replied Sridevi. The phone slipped out of my hand as she used to train under Master Salim.
Ghai then told me not to worry and simply do my job. I took extra care to choreograph the song. The first shot of Sridevi's dance for the song took 13 takes.
'Till date I don't think any actress has reached Vyjantimala's level'
I started my career with Vyjayanthimala.
I distinctly remember her in Jewel Thief (Honthon Mein Aisi Baat). She danced on a moving trolley. She gave 17 difficult shots without complaining. You will understand how difficult the shots were when you watch that song.
She is graceful and a supreme dancer. Till date I don't think any actress has reached her level.
'The Travancore sisters were simply outstanding'
My master had choreographed a song for a movie called Kalpana featuring Ragini and Padmini (Lalitha is the other sister) as Gauri and Ganga.
There was a dream sequence in the film where Gauri and Ganga were trying to wake up Shiva by saying 'I am your life please wake up for me'.
The sisters danced better than the others; they were simply outstanding.
Image: The Travancore sisters
'Vidya Balan reminds me of Madhuri Dixit'
If I have to choreograph any actress today, it would be Vidya Balan. She has very natural expressions.
I remember seeing her in Lage Raho Munnabhai, her expressions in the song Pal Pal were outstanding. She reminds me of Madhuri Dixit.
Image: Vidya Balan