Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum, Asha Bhosle. These are musical geniuses whose golden voices carry a whiff of Hindi cinema’s golden previous. But then, all geniuses want different geniuses to point out them who the actual genius is. That was Geeta Dutt, one of many best misplaced potentials of all time. For additional proof, why not ask Lata Mangeshkar who was probably the most towering determine of Geeta’s time in addition to ours? She will be capable of vouch for the truth that Geeta was a rage in her heyday, having dominated Hindi feminine playback along with her soulful model of singing by way of the excessive midday of Fifties. How she posed a problem to Mangeshkar herself and doubtless, made the Nightingale a greater singer within the course of. Just think about the world of Bollywood if Geeta hadn’t died at a comparatively younger age of 41 in 1972. Imagine provided that her husband Guru Dutt hadn’t gone away so quickly at 39.
Did we are saying ‘her husband Guru Dutt?’ That’s proper. In a state of affairs straight out of A Star is Born, Geeta was already the queen of Bollywood playback and an enormous industrial success in post-independent India when Guru Dutt was nonetheless a big-time struggler attempting to make it within the huge dangerous Bombay, a glamorous metropolis of crime and sin that discovered itself as an vital character in his preliminary directorial hits, resembling Baazi, Aar Paar, Mr. & Mrs. ’55 and the perfect Guru Dutt noir that Guru Dutt didn’t make — C.I.D (helmed by the legendary Raj Khosla and produced by the Master of Misery).
Born right into a rich landowning household close to present-day Dhaka in 1930, Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri had a expertise for singing from a younger age, a vocation her mother and father reportedly inspired. Only 16 when she began singing for Hindi cinema in 1946, it was inside a yr of her debut that ‘Mera sundar sapna beet gaya’ from Do Bhai beneath the course of SD Burman made her an indeniable star. But hear intently to the poignant lyrics by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and it appears to echo Geeta’s final years (“Meri prem kahani khatam hui, mere jeevan ka sangeet gaya”), stuffed with remorse, separation and loss after her failed marriage and a slide into psychological melancholy. There’s ache in her vocals, belying her callow age.
Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri had a expertise for singing from a younger age. (Photo: Express Archive)
She would go on to strike a formidable partnership with Burman, simply as she did with Hemant Kumar and OP Nayyar. All these music legends gave her songs of nice emotional depth and romantic craving, for which her honeyed voice suited completely. She sang a few of her profession’s — and certainly, Hindi cinema’s — greatest songs for Guru Dutt. Even right this moment, a night with associates and gathering of outdated souls is never full with no spherical of Dutts’ Golden Age touchstones taking part in on the speaker. ‘Tadbeer se bigdi hui,’ ‘Sun sun sun zalima,’ ‘Babuji dheere chalna,’ ‘Udhar tum haseen ho,’ ‘Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam,’ ‘Jaane kya tune kahi’ and ‘Na jao saiyyan chhuda ke baiyan,’ you title it. Guru Dutt was the love of her life but in addition the rationale for her downfall. Despite objections from her household, the couple obtained married in 1953 when Guru was a budding director — not but the Dean of Despair. The two masterpieces that we most affiliate with Guru Dutt, Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool and in addition the 2 different classics that we consider as quintessentially Guru Dutt however was not directed by him, Chaudhvin Ka Chand and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, have been nonetheless some years away. All 4 movies have a minimum of three figures in widespread: Abrar Ali, VK Murthy and Waheeda Rehman.
That final title proved to be Geeta’s scourge. She believed her husband was having an affair with the protégé he helped uncover and nurture in movies like C.I.D, Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool. In the ebook Ten Years with Guru Dutt, Abrar Alvi blames Geeta’s “immature behaviour and suspicious nature” for her hubby’s rising closeness with Waheeda Rehman. Although Waheeda has at all times maintained a stoic silence and by no means overtly talked about her alleged love story, the media has spun its personal narrative. More than 5 many years after his dying in 1964 (he had a historical past of tried suicides however this time it was an accident, goes the household model), Guru Dutt has turn into a fable. Geeta, alternatively, has remained a thriller at greatest and a curiosity at worst.
Guru Dutt’s movies are sometimes lauded for the way in which he made music an integral a part of the plot. Even comedian sidekicks (assume Johnny Walker) obtained the meatiest songs. Part of the credit score for the hypnotic spell these evergreen songs have forged on music buffs ought to go to Geeta Dutt, at par with the opposite key behind-the-scene collaborators like SD Burman, Hemant Kumar, Sahir Ludhianvi, Lata Mangeshkar, Majrooh Sultanpuri, OP Nayyar, Mohammed Rafi and plenty of others.
On her 91st beginning anniversary right this moment, right here’s a listing of 5 important Geeta Dutt gems which have enthralled music lovers over the many years, enriching our cinema and our lives.
‘Sun sun sun zalima’ from Aar Paar (1954)
Guru Dutt and Shakila in Aar Paar. (Photo: Express Archive)
Guru Dutt is the Bard of Brooding, who’s at his peak when he’s bleak. But in his lighter movies and in bouncier roles — normally a trademark of his buddy Dev Anand — the auteur seems surprisingly and heartwarmingly pure. In Aar Paar, he performs the street-smart cabbie Kalu who falls “safaa safaa” in love with Nikki (Shyama). But on the night time they resolve to elope he’s stood up by Nikki. Soon, Kalu is enlisted by the mob and has to show his innocence to win again his girl love. The movie options two variations of ‘Sun sun sun zalima,’ the chirpier first one captures the sweet-nothings of latest love adopted by the unhappy tune that articulates Nikki’s heartbreak. Aar Paar’s different enduring musical second is the groovy membership quantity ‘Babuji dheere chalne’ and although lifted from the Cuban tune ‘Quizás, quizás, quizás’ the Bollywood impression is distinguished by Geeta’s distinctive voice. From ‘Sun sun’ to ‘Babuji,’ Geeta might effortlessly transfer between the Westernised and classical, between sluggish ballads to rambunctious ones. As OP Nayyar as soon as stated, she’s an “asset to any music director.”
‘Hum aapki aankhon mein’ from Pyaasa (1957)
Author Yasser Usman reminds us in his ebook Guru Dutt: An Unfinished Story that this romantic duet, sung by Geeta and Mohammed Rafi, stays the one dream track in any Guru Dutt film and was included to “provide relief in the midst of a serious story.” Pyaasa is a flawless soundtrack (in Guru Dutt’s most flawless outing). Geeta sang 4 numbers, most famously for ‘Aaj sajan mohe ang lagalo’ and ‘Jaane kya tune kahi’, each shot on Waheeda Rehman. In an album bristling with such treasures, we urge you to revisit ‘Hum aapki aankhon mein.’ Why? Because its placement within the movie is impeccable. It’s the one time within the movie when the doomed poet Vijay is proven with a semblance of promise and happiness. Anyone who has seen Pyaasa (wager there are various) will learn about Vijay’s progressively worsening misfortunes in a dog-eat-dog social canvas to which he neither belongs nor matches. ‘Hum aapki aankhon mein’ is a short-lived reverie in a troublesome and attempting however in the end, inventive life.
‘Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam’ from Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
A tormented soul, a struggling and self-destructive artist in a hostile world and a rocky marriage. Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool is alleged to include shades of his personal life and appears on the superficial nature of celeb and the ephemerality of fame. Its two immortal compositions (Kaifi Azmi-SD Burman) have turn into a guiding mild for music lovers — the haunting ‘Dekhi zamane ki yaari’ is picturised on Guru who performs the tragic filmmaker Suresh Sinha whereas ‘Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam’ glows within the background as an injured Suresh and his new discover (Waheeda Rehman, who’s forged as Paro in Suresh’s dream venture, Devdas) inevitably start an intimate relationship. Shot enigmatically by VK Murthy in black and white, this one’s all about expressions. No lip-synching, no dance actions. Just two souls assembly beneath the arc lights. It’s a masterclass in conveying unstated love with furtive glances and wistful longing. As Waheeda put it in Nasreen Munni Kabir’s Conversations with Waheeda Rehman, “My face had to say it all.” If Kaifi Azmi’s phrases present the track with its that means (was Gulzar’s ‘Naam gum jayega’ with strains like ‘waqt ke sitam kum haseen nahin’ influenced by it?) Geeta’s moody voice provides it the soul.
PS: Film followers will know this trivia. One of Amitabh Bachchan’s favorite actresses is Waheeda Rehman, one among his favorite movies is Kaagaz Ke Phool and one among his favorite songs is ‘Waqt ne kiya.’ No surprise, Big B immediately agreed to recreate the basic in his booming baritone for 2018’s 102 Not Out.
‘Na jao saiyyan chhuda ke baiyan’ from Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962)
A slice of the Bengali feudal extra, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam explores the decadence that went behind the ornate partitions of outdated havelis of the nineteenth century aristocracy in Calcutta. Legend has it that Waheeda Rehman had expressed a need for the function of the melancholic Chhoti Bahu however Meena Kumari was born to play it — and immortalise it. Vinod Mehta in his marvellously readable biography of Meena Kumari writes that Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and particularly this “unforgettable” track are the primary issues that come “readily to mind” when audiences consider her. The Tragedienne makes use of her eloquent poise and poetic cadences to convey the mystique surrounding her iconic character. Composed by Hemant Kumar and penned by Shakeel Badayuni, this melodramatic valentine stays the movie’s most timeless reminiscence. As Chhoti Bahu (Kumari) tries to cease her alcoholic and debauched husband (Rehman) from leaving her as soon as once more, the observe is dipping with shringara rasa. While Meena manages to speak her character’s internal turmoil by way of her longing eyes, Geeta masterfully expresses Chhoti Bahu’s burning need for love and belonging amidst non secular ruins and a passionless marriage that the younger spouse finds herself in.
Geeta Dutt gave us some superb songs. (Photo: Express Archive)
‘Mujhe jaan na kaho meri jaan’ from Anubhav (1971)
On the face of it, Basu Bhattacharya’s experimental tackle ‘marriage’ starring Sanjeev Kumar-Tanuja (first a part of his perceptive trilogy) has no want for a track. Yet, composer Kanu Roy and lyricist Gulzar give Geeta Dutt one among her swan songs in ‘Mujhe jaan na kaho meri jaan’ for which Roy tones down the devices to its barest minimal, permitting Geeta’s voice the quiet freedom and noise-cancelling subtlety it deserves. Romantic, tender and visually arresting, it drops at an important level within the film — simply when the protagonists Amar-Meeta are rekindling their misplaced conjugal bliss. Bumps lay forward because of an unlikely third wheel (Dinesh Thakur) however for now, they’ll take pleasure in their togetherness beneath the watchful gaze of household servant Hari (AK Hangal). Immediately after this track, Amar, soaked totally in rain, comes down with a fever. As for the listeners, they may name in sick, too — blame it on the ‘Geeta Dutt Fever.’