Geeta Dutt was a gifted and shining name in the world of Indian music that could have lived and lasted for a much longer tenure than it actually did. She was a great singer, who evolved and extinguished into darkness due to the unfortunate and untimely events in her life.
Babuji Dheere Chalna
Pyar Mein Zaraa Sambhalnaa
Haan Bade Dhoke Hain
Bade Dhoke Hain Iss Raah Mein
The evergreen voice of Geeta Dutt, singing these legendary lines were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri in 1954 for the movie ‘Aar Paar’. It is still one of the most loved and adored songs in the modern days. Composed by O. P. Nayyar, the song surely was compiled with a versatile touch that appeals to the audiences even today, after almost six decades. But who knew that this song along with some other tracks of Geeta Dutt would signify the mis-happenings of her own life in later future?
Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhury was born on 23rd of November 1930 at Faridpur in East Bengal (currently Bangladesh). She was one of the ten children born to Debendranath Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri and Amiya Devi, in a well to do zamindar family in the Eastern part of Bengal. Towards the early 1940s, her family shifted to Calcutta only to later shift again to Bombay in 1942.
She learnt music initially from Hirendranath Nandi. At the age of 16, she was given her first break by Hanuman Prasad in the mythological movie ‘Bhakta Prahlad’ in 1946. However, she was only given two lines to sing for the songs in the movie. She also sang ‘Naina Ki Pyaali Se’, ‘Naina Lagake Mukh Modi Gaya’ from ‘Raseeli’ and a duet with Parul Ghosh ‘Aaja Re Nindiya Aaja’ from ‘Nayi Maa’ for Hanuman Prasad in 1946 only.
Her career took an about turn when musical maestro S. D. Burman gave her a break to sing for him in the movie ‘Do Bhai’ in 1947. The songs, as well as the movie were super hit and Geeta Dutt never had to look back after that.
‘Baazi’ – A Turning Point In Life
‘Baazi’ was the first movie that was to be made under the banner of Navketan Films – Dev Anand’s production house. As per his promise to one of his closest friend Guru Dutt, Dev Anand handed him over the director’s seat before ‘Baazi’ went on floors. On the muhurat ceremony of ‘Baazi, Dev Anand made Guru Dutt meet the enchanting singer Geeta Roy. Out of the eight tracks from the movie composed by S. D. Burman, Geeta Roy was assigned six of them.
‘Suno Gajar Kya Gaaye’, ‘Dekh Ke Akeli Mohe Barkha Sataaye’, ‘Yeh Kaun Aaya Ki Meri Dil Ki Duniya Mein’, ‘Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer Bana Le’, ‘Aaj Ki Raat Piya’, ‘Tum Bhi Na Bhoolo Balam’ are the notable tracks from ‘Baazi’ sung by Geeta Roy. However, the track ‘Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer Banaa Le’ had a western touch to it and it was sung by Geeta Roy with such fascinating effect that it stupefied even the new and young director, Guru Dutt.
‘Baazi’ released in 1951 and was a blockbuster success at the Box-Office. The female lead, Geeta Bali’s dance number with the tunes of ‘Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer Bana Le’ was thoroughly enjoyed and loved by the audiences.
By the time ‘Baazi’ ended, the great filmmaker in making- Guru Dutt, fell in love with the existing diamond in the world of music – Geeta Roy. It was yet to become the most sensational yet tragic love story on the ‘off-screen’ history of Indian cinema.
In 1952, Guru Dutt’s second venture ‘Jaal’ went on floors. Again, Geeta Roy was assigned two solo tracks and one duet with Kishore Kumar for the movie. The film was extensively shot in Goa with Dev Anand and Geeta Bali in the lead again. The movie swooned over the Box Office and turned out to be Dutt’s second big success as a director in a row.
The Most Awaited Marriage:
After the success of ‘Jaal’, Guru Dutt wanted to venture into production. He formed a production house in partnership with Geeta Bali’s sister, Haridarshan Kaur, naming it H. G. Productions. The first movie under the banner of H. G. Productions was ‘Baaz’. This was O. P. Nayyar’s second movie as a music director and again out of the total nine songs that were composed for the movie, Geeta Roy sang seven of them.
The music turned out to be a big success. However, the box office results were dull. This was Guru Dutt’s first failure at the box office.
The failure of ‘Baaz’ created a vacuum space in Guru Dutt’s life. In order to fill the vacuum, he hurried to get married to Geeta Roy. The two lovers finally tied the knot at Geeta Roy’s Mumbai residence on 26th of May 1953, finally turning Geeta Roy to Geeta Dutt.
The grand wedding was completed following the norms of Bengali tradition and was attended by almost the entire film fraternity of the contemporary period.
A year later, in 1954, Geeta Dutt delivered their first newborn exactly on the day of Guru Dutt’s birthday. Their first child, Tarun, was born on 9th July 1954 and he also happened to share his father’s birthday.
Success Hits The Duo Again:
In 1954, Guru Dutt established his own independent production house. Though, H. G. Productions did remain as his partnership venture. The first movie produced under Guru Dutt’s production house was ‘Aar-Paar’, directed by Guru Dutt himself. Initially he wanted to cast Dev Anand in the movie. However, he changed his mind later and decided to play the main male lead himself.
O. P. Nayyar composed eight songs for the movie and Geeta Dutt sang seven of them. The songs instantly did hit the chartbusters and the scores are still widely played and loved by the current generation audiences. The tracks were much modern if compared with the contemporary era. They were expressive, prompt and erotic in nature which impressed people to no boundaries. ‘Sun Sun Sun Sun Zaalima’, ‘Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa’, ‘Babuji Dheere Chalna’, ‘Ye Lo Main Haari Piya’, ‘Hoon Abhi Main Jawaan Aye Dil’, ‘Mohabat Karlo Ji Barlo’, ‘Na Na Na Na Na Na Tauba Tauba’ were all hit tracks from the movie sung by Geeta Dutt.
‘Aar-Paar’ again marked success for Guru Dutt and swooned over the Box-Office charts.
In 1955, Guru Dutt produced and directed another light hearted romantic movie ‘Mr. & Mrs. 55′ starring himself and the ecstatic Madhubala. The music was again composed by O. P. Nayyar and out of the total nine songs, six of them were sung by Geeta Dutt. Three duets with Mohd. Rafi and three solo songs, all were a treat to the music lovers of the time. ‘Neele Aasmaani’, ‘Preetam Aan Milo’, ‘Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata’, ‘Udhar Tum Haseen Ho’ were all stunning and delightful songs from the film.
By this time, critics started blaming that Geeta Dutt only saved and rendered her best for her husband’s movies. However, over and over again she proved this to be a lame blame been put on her.
The Then Emerging Telugu Sensation – Waheeda Rahman
In 1955, a Telugu film, ‘Rojulu Marayi’ released with Waheeda Rahman been casted in one of the super hit songs from the film. The song and Waheeda Rahman, both became overnight success in the Telugu film industry. The film went on to celebrate its Silver Jubilee success and Guru Dutt, while being at Hyderabad, was invited to attend the event. He met the new sensation Waheeda Rahman at this event and this meeting marked the beginning of a new twist in Guru Dutt’s life.
In 1956, Guru Dutt decided to produce another movie with Dev Anand and newcomer Waheeda Rahman. He asked his assistant, Raj Khosla to direct the movie. The crime thriller, C. I. D, had six songs composed by O. P. Nayyar and out of them Geeta Dutt rendered for three songs. ‘Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein Ishaara Ho Gaya’ with Mohd. Rafi from C. I. D, became very popular and the music of the movie was a smashing hit.
In 1956, Geeta Dutt delivered her second son, Arun, on 10th of July.
In 1957, Guru Dutt finally released his dream project, ‘Pyaasa’. ‘Pyaasa’ was a creative masterpiece that was directed and produced by himself. The movie is still considered as one of the best made films in the history of Indian cinema. The film found a place in the list of Time magazine’s list of 100 best films ever made in the world. It has also been ranked among the top 25 must see movies by India Times. In 2011, Time Magazine again placed it among the top 10 best romantic movies in the world!
‘Pyaasa’ had S. D. Burman on the seat of the music director. All the songs from the movie did hit the chartbusters and Geeta Dutt had 3 songs in her bag from the movie. All of them were smashing hits including the track, ‘Aaj Saajan Mohe Ang Lagaalo’, which was a musical treat to the listeners. The film starred Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rahman and Mala Sinha in pivotal roles.
‘Gouri’ – Guru Dutt’s First Attempt To Launch His Wife As A Heroine:
‘Gouri’ was supposed to be a Bengali film attempted by Guru Dutt to launch Geeta Dutt as a heroine. After a few shots, the shooting of the movie got suspended. It is said that the growing misunderstandings between Geeta Dutt and Guru Dutt were the primary reasons behind the movie getting shelved. By this time, Geeta Dutt had a strong impulse that Guru Dutt was getting romantically involved with Waheeda Rahman. However, if ever the shooting of the movie got completed, then it would have been India’s first cinemascope release.
‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ – Future History Yet A Contemporary Failure
Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam
Tum Rahe Na Tum, Hum Rahe Na Hum
Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam
Written by lyricist Kaifi Azmi, composed by S. D. Burman and sung by Geeta Dutt, this song is embedded in the hearts of a million even now. The song is regarded as Geeta Dutt’s best. Penned by Kaifi Azmi, the words depict the pain and sufferings of the protagonist and Geeta Dutt portrayed it through her vocal with utmost sincerity, probably because it resembled her own life by that time!
Guru Dutt’s ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ was a cult movie that probably was made much ahead of time. A movie made for an intellectual and thinking audience could not strike its chord with the box office in 1959. Hence, his another dream project ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ fell flat on the collections box causing huge financial losses. The movie turned out to be a contemporary failure. However, it is historically a success as it became the first ever Indian movie to be made on cinemascope. Furthermore, the British film monthly ‘Sight and Sound’ placed ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ among the top 160 greatest films of all time!
The failure of ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ pulled Guru Dutt into the graves of deep depression and he decided to retire from direction forever.
Blamed To Be A Fickle Minded Filmmaker:
Since 1959, Guru Dutt shelved and cancelled several of his projects without any vital reason. While shooting the movies, he halted and dismissed the films halfway citing no concrete reason for doing so. He started off a movie ‘Raaz’ with Sunit Dutt and Waheeda Rahman. Later, he replaced Sunil Dutt with himself and completed almost half the movie only to shelf it later due to creative dissatisfaction. Raj Khosla adopted the story of ‘Raaz’ later and made ‘Woh Kaun Thi’, which was a super hit movie during the era.
He also signed Kishore Kumar and Waheeda Rahman for another movie ‘Professor’. He shelved that one too in the midway. Later the movie was released with Shammi Kapoor in the lead by F. C. Mehra and it became an instant success. ‘Bees Saal Baad’, ‘Neel Kamal’ were some other projects which were also abandoned by Guru Dutt in midway. This regular attitude of Guru Dutt created a rift between Geeta Dutt and him which worsened things further.
In 1960, Guru Dutt produced Chaudvin Ka Chand, starring himself, Rahman and Waheeda Rahman. The movie was also shown at the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival.
‘Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam’- The Last Songs of Geeta Dutt for Guru Dutt
Na Jaayo Saiyaan
Kasam Tumhaari…Main Ro Padungi
Composed by Hemant Kumar and sung by Geeta Dutt, the song instills the emotion of an abandoned wife who struggles hard to stop her husband from leaving her behind alone. The extreme grief, pain and fear of isolation is depicted perfectly in the song by Geeta Dutt. Again another brilliant piece that probably went hand in hand with the contemporary affairs of her real life.
‘Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam’ was produced by Guru Dutt and starred himself with Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rahman and Rahman in primary roles. The movie was directed by Dutt’s long time companion Abrar Alvi. It was a huge commercial as well as critical success. Guru Dutt also received the Filmfare Award for the Best Film in 1963. It was also India’s official submission for the Academy Awards that year in the category of the Best Feature Film in Foreign Language.
In 1962, their last child, their daughter Nina, was born in the month of August.
Personal Life Deeply Affected Professional Life:
From the late 1950s, Geeta Dutt being depressed and saddened, ventured into heavy drinking. Her personal life disasters started affecting her career. Music Directors like S. D. Burman and O. P. Nayyar, who always considered her as their primary singer for compositions, started shifting to the new emerging singer in town, Asha Bhosle.
Soon, Geeta Dutt, started to run out of work as she failed to meet the expectations of the composers. By the early 1960s, she detached herself from Guru Dutt and they started living separately.
October 10th 1964 – The Great Filmmaker Passes Away
Even the success of ‘Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam’ could not pull Guru Dutt away from his depressions. A solitary life without Geeta Dutt made him live a very ailing life. Being mentally unstable, he attempted suicide thrice. Finally, on the night of 10th October 1964, he breathed his last at the age of 39.
An overdose of alcohol with sleeping pills is reportedly said to be the cause of his death. However, different views exist with regards to the fact about whether his death was an accident or suicide. He last spoke to Asha Bhosle at midnight of October 10th, asking her about the whereabouts of Geeta Dutt, before his death.
The Fall of the Musical Diamond:
Hearing the news of her husband’s death, Geeta Dutt had a severe nervous breakdown. She could not recognise even her children for a long period of time. When she recovered from her mental distress, she faced deep financial crisis. Her musical career almost faced a halt making her insolvent. She performed a few stage shows during this time to earn money.
In 1967, she played the lead role in the Bengali movie ‘Badhu Baran’ and later in 1971, she sang for composer Kanu Roy in the movie ‘Anubhav’, which was her last recording so far. ‘Koi Chupke Se Aake’, ‘Mera Dil Jo Mera Hota’ and ‘Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho, Meri Jaan’ were the three notable tracks sung by Geeta Dutt for the movie ‘Anubhav’.
In 1972, at the age of 41, she died of liver cirrhosis.