GEETA DUTT : The eminent singer of Indian cinema of former times would have been a ripe nonagenarian today. But
destiny ordained differently. She lived a relatively short life that held the promise of so much more
when she left the world at the age of 42. It was, nonetheless, ablaze with the gems of her songs most of
which remain immensely hummable even today.
Born on 23 rd November 1930, Geeta Dutt nee Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri, belonged to a well-to-do
family of Faridpur in East Bengal (now Bangladesh). In the early 40s, her family moved to Bombay and
settled in a modest apartment in Dadar. Young Geeta was self-trained, but she started captivating
listeners with her rich, mellifluous voice.
Composer and Music Director, Hanuman Prasad heard her and decided to give her “a break” for a
chorus song in Bhakta Prahlad (1946). As per reports, Geeta was required to sing mainly as part of the
chorus with just a few individual lines, but she shone through in them.
Impressed with her ability, S.D. Burman gave her an opportunity as a playback singer in Do Bhai (1947)
where he was a co-music Director alongside Raja Mehdi Ali Khan.
Thereafter, there was no looking back as the world was mesmerized by the magic of Geeta’s voice. It
was all things magical with a hint of mischief, playfulness, and seduction. It suited the storylines and
roles of actresses of the day to a T.
Singing Career spanning three decades – Through the 40s, 50s, and 60s she sang approximately 1200
Hindi songs for various composers and playback for leading ladies of the day, going on to establish
herself as one of the most sought after singers of her time.
Marriage with Guru Dutt – No account of the legendary singer is complete without mention of her
marriage to one of the most visionary actor-directors of Indian cinema, Guru Dutt. They met while she
was singing playback for his directorial venture, Baazi (1951).
As the story goes, Guru Dutt was spellbound by Geeta Dutt (it was only later that they married, and she
took on the surname) and soon they were meeting each other regularly. It was just a matter of time
before Guru Dutt was head over heels in love with her and they married on May 26, 1953. It was the
coming together of two artistic geniuses. They formed the perfect creative team – he with his directorial
prowess and she with her achingly melodious voice. The haunting and timeless melodies of the 50s in
his films were possibly born naturally because there was much love in the air!
However, their love story had a tragic end is well-known to cinema buffs.
As an Actress – Beautiful with large doe-like eyes, she acted in a Bengali film, Badhu Baran (1967).
Timeless Singing Sensation – Geeta Dutt sang across genres and languages in her day. More than 1500
songs in Hindi, Bengali, and other regional languages are credited to her. Her professional career would
be the envy of many. Her repertoire was vast. She sang bhajans and patriotic songs on the one hand,
and club and cabaret on the other. She effortlessly conveyed a gamut of emotions through her songs.
It’s not for nothing that ‘Babuji Dheere Chalna’ and ‘Yehlo Main Haari Piya’ still play on a loop for many of
us even today.