Geeta Dutt Poster


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Overview (3)

Born in Faridpur District, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died in Bombay, Maharashtra, India  (cirrhosis of the liver)
Birth NameGeeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri

Mini Bio (3)

Geeta Dutt was born in Faridpur District in East Bengal in 1930. Music Director Hanuman Prasad gave her chance to sing two lines in the film Bhakt Prahlad (1946). Her major assignment came the following year, 1947, with Do Bhai. From 1947-1949 Geeta Duttt was number playback singer in Mumbai. Initially Geeta was a singer well known for bhajans and weepy, weepy sad songs. But in 1951 after the release of a film, Baazi revealed a new facet. During the recording of the song she met Guru Dutt and later in 1953 they got married. However in 1957 they had some problems. Due to marriage problems she was not readily available for rehearsals and found solace in drink. She suffered a nervous breakdown but resumed singing again. But her drinking problems were not over and she died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1972.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Alps

Acclaimed as the one singer who was feared by Lata Mangeshkar, Geeta Dutt held a rare mellifluous tone in her voice that could fuel passion and all kinds of emotions into whatever song she sung. This rare ability also enabled her to swap from traditional songs to Western-styled tunes without skipping a beat. When Lata Mangeshkar arrived as the new queen of melody, it was this fluid quality in her voice that kept her up in the playback industry. If it hadn't been for her tragic relationship with the great director Guru Dutt, her genius would have shone on unclouded her entire life.

She was born Geeta Roy on 7 July 1930, the daughter of a wealthy zamindar in the Faridpur district of East Bengal. In 1942, at the age of 12, the family moved to Bombay and took up residence in a modest apartment in the Dadar district. In that flat, music director K. Hanumath Prasad heard her voice, and agreed to give her a small part in Bhakta Prahlad (1946), a film he was scoring songs for at that time. She only sang two lines in that film, but her talent astonished everyone in the recording studio. It was only a matter of time before she became a top singer, and soon she got her break with Two Brothers (1947). The music of that film became immensely popular and thus began a successful career for Geeta.

From 1947 to 1949, Geeta was the queen of playback songs, moving from strength to strength. She was initially called on to sing religious songs and sad songs, but on the release of Baazi (1951), a crime thriller which featured jazz-based songs, a newer, more sensual side was revealed in her voice, which instantly made her more popular. She went from traditional songs to Western-beat tunes with such flexibility that she became much demanded by all music directors who had to compose completely opposite songs for a film. When 'Lata Mangeshkar' rose as the new queen of Bollywood music, Geeta and Shamshad Begum the only two singers who were still called upon for songs.

On the personal front, during recording the songs for Baazi (1951), Geeta met a young upcoming film director, Guru Dutt. They fell in love and, although they faced strong opposition from their families, they married on 26 May 1953, and had three children. Their romance also seemed to bring a sparkle into Geeta's voice; she sang some of her best ever songs in her husband's films. Later on, though, the marriage started to hit rocky ground; Geeta, while having a beautiful voice also had a possessive and suspicious nature, and the couple fought and reconciled several times.

While all her songs became hugely popular, it was the composers Sachin Dev Burman and O.P. Nayyar who gave Geeta her best ever tunes. Burman, although he made her a success with the jazzy Baazi (1951), preferred to use that special lilt in her voice for traditional Indian melodies; in fact no other singer apart from Geeta has truly embodied the spirit of Burman's music. Nayyar, on the other hand, developed Geeta's voice for more Westernized songs, and under his music Geeta could sing for just about any genre of song. Whether the song was hip, Western,

Unfortunately, by 1957 her life was beginning to fall apart. Guru Dutt had gotten involved with his protégé Waheeda Rehman, and the breaking up of her personal life began to impact on her professional career. Music directors began to complain about her not being easily available for song rehearsals and recordings; things got so bad that both Burman and Nayyar picked the newer, more available Asha Bhosle over Geeta and groomed Asha into a great singer. To quieten things down Dutt began shooting "Gauri," which starred his wife in the title role; she was to be launched as a singing star, but the film was shelved after just a few days.

Finally, on 10 October 1964 Guru Dutt was found dead in his bed, having committed suicide. His death caused Geeta to suffer a nervous breakdown. To make matters worse, she was in a financial mess; and due to all the stressful events around her she took to alcohol. She attempted to revive her career by cutting discs at the Durga Poja and performing at stage shows, and even tried starring as a heroine in the Bengali film Badhu Bharan (1967). But by then the alcohol had done its work and her health was in a decline. She eventually died in 20 July 1972, from cirrhosis of the liver.

It was a tribute to her vocal genius, though, that even when her health was failing she could call it up and breathe it into songs; Anubhav (1971) is renowned for having some of Geeta Dutt's best songs. And even after her death, her voice still rings with that special memorizing lilt...

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Q. Leo Rahman

Around the mid thirties, almost daily, all round the year, in a small village called Idilpur in Faridpur district of East Bengal, a little girl of about five to six years of age sat under a tree, her dreamy eyes fixed on the ferry passing over the wide river in front, her ears listening to songs sung by the boatmen-Songs like "Bhabasagar hotey paar karo amarey" were among her favourites and she liked the songs and wanted to sing them. She could spend a whole day with this kind of activity and at times would fall asleep, only to be awakened by her loving mother, who reminded her of her studies and other little household jobs that an average Bengalee girl was expected to learn. She had already been admitted to the local Pathhsala (village school), but showed no interest in studies and spent her time humming tunes that she had picked up from the boatmen. She loved to sing and at that young age also liked to dance to the tunes she had learnt. She was not the only child in the family. Her name was Geeta and she was born on the twenty third day of November, 1930. She was one of the ten children of Debendranath Ghosh Roychoudhury (Ghosh was the surname while Roychoudhury a title common to several landlords) and Amiya Devi. Her parents soon became aware of her vocal talent and allowed her to sing in the presence of village people and were delighted at the response, the villagers all agreed that she had a very good voice and sang very well. Although Debendranath was a zamindar (landlord), some difficulties cropped up, the family had to shift to Calcutta, then capital of undivided Bengal of British India, in the early forties. Here a music master Shri Harendranath Nandi (a family relative) gave her lessons in music. She learnt folk music, light music and also picked up songs from records and films and was a happy child with the freedom she got in singing. She did not have to go to school then. In 1942, the family shifted again, this time to Bombay. Frequent change of place did cause some moments of anguish, with Geeta's music lessons getting hampered. Moreover, she was admitted to Bengali School of Bombay, although the naughty girl did not bother much about school attendance-She passed her Matriculation examination as a private student in 1947 and at the same time continued singing, which was her first love. The family, by then reduced financially to middle class status, could not afford to engage any expensive master for formal training in music. During her stay in Bombay from 1942 onwards, she came in touch with several non-Bengali families and was quick to learn different languages through the association and acquired working knowledge of Hindi, Punjabi, Nepali, Sindhi, Urdu, Gujrati and others and this proved to be useful in later years. Music lesson and practice wise she was now on her own, having learnt to play the harmonium by then. It was destiny indeed that Pandit Hanuman Prasad should have been walking in front of Debendranath Roy Choudhury's house with Geeta singing inside. Hanuman Prasad heard the voice and walked straight into the house and enquired about the singer to Geeta's father. He was told by Debendranath that it was the voice of his teenage daughter Geeta and immediately came an offer from Prasad to sing in films. Hanuman Prasad explained that he would not be able to give much work to the young girl, but for Bhakt Prahlad (1946) where he had a chorus, he wanted Geeta to sing just two lines on her own in Suno Suno Binti Hamari Prabhuji. The song would be chorus, but in it Geeta's voice would be recognizable. It was a difficult situation for the ex landlord to permit his daughter to sing in films, but he relented keeping in mind Geeta's own interest and love for songs. It was Hanuman Prasad again who introduced the girl to Sachin Dev Burman, who was then making music for Do Bhai (1947) and S.D. Burman was actually present when Geeta was singing at the recording studio. Going against the advice of friends in the music circle, Burman made Geeta the principal singer of Do Bhai (1947). Of the nine songs in the film, the newcomer in the industry was given six songs-four solo numbers and two duets and history was created with Mera Sundar Sapna Beet Gaya, filmed on Kamini Kaushal. Other hits from the film included Yaad Karoge Yaad Karoge Ekdin Humko Yaad Karoge and Mere Piya To Base Pardes Hai Basant Ritu Kyon Ayee. Very soon other music directors like Anil Biswas, Bulo C. Rani, Khemchand Prakash, Vasant Prakash, Gyan Dutt, Ram Ganguly (much later in his last days in the nineties in Calcutta, Ganguly said in an interview that he considered Geeta's voice better suited for films than that of Lata Mangeshkar, no disputes or controversies please, Ganguly just expressed his own view), Sajjad Hussain, Hansraj Behl, Robin Chattopadhyay, Avinash Vyas, Shaukat Hussain, Datta Korgaonkar, Ghulam Haider, S.N.Tripathy, Vasant Desai, Husnlal-Bhagatram, Ghulam Mohammad, Shyambabu Pathak, Balkishan Kalla, Shankar Shastri, Shankar Rao Vyas, Hiren Bose, Hemanta Kumar Mukherjee and others started using her voice making Geeta a busy singer. Sachin Dev Burman and Pandit Hanuman Prasad continued to give her work.. Sachin Dev Burman gave Geeta her first opportunity to sing in a Bengali film Samar (1950), the song was Khela Bhangar Khela. Samar was based on Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay's novel and the film was made in Bombay. It was a double version film and Geeta sang for Sumitra Devi in both versions. Till 1951 a pattern followed. Mostly Geeta used to be the major female singer in the films that came to her. Then came Baazi (1951) and Guru Dutt. Of the eight songs in Baazi, six were by Geeta (of the other two-one each by Kishore Kumar and Shamshad Begum). All the Baazi songs were great hits, particularly Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer Bana Le. Dev Anand has said on more than one occasion that people saw this film several times only for this song sequence. Her popularity and position was established firmly with Baazi, but the Baazi songs also caused music directors thereafter to offer her mainly the light, westernized and club / cabaret numbers. She excelled in these songs as well and the result was that only this type of songs started coming to her. Exceptions included Zalzala (1952), with music by Pankaj Mallick. The film flopped and down went the songs with the film, but songs like Bujho Bujho Ai Dilwalon and Mujhey Wo Dekh Kar sound great today but in 1952, the response was lukewarm. Again, Ferry (1954) with music by Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyay met with the same fate, but Geeta's Rangili Rangili Chhabili Rani was superb in one word.

During the making of Baazi, love happened between a new film director Guru Dutt Padukone, yet to find a place in the industry and Geeta, a well established playback singer. Guru Dutt belonged to a small community of Saraswat Brahmins, his mother tongue was Konkani. Geeta was a Bengali Kayastha girl. However, problems of caste, creed and position in society were overcome and they got married on the 26th day of March, 1953. Music director Anil Biswas and his singer wife Meena Kapoor played active roles in arranging the marriage ceremony. In 1952, came O.P. Nayyar, who used Geeta's voice in Aasmaan. This film flopped (Dekho Jadu Bhare Morey Nain remain one of the all time favorites of Geeta fans) but Nayyar used Geeta again in Baaz (1953). This one also bombed at the box office but songs like Zara Saamne Aa, Majhi Albele, Taare Chandni Afsane make enchanting listening even today. In spite of a trail of flops in Nayyar's career till then, Geeta recommended Nayyar's name when husband Guru Dutt produced Aarpaar (1954) and right she was because every song of Aarpaar (1954) became wild hits. Apart from Geeta, the other playback singers were Shamshad Begum, Mohammad Rafi, Suman Kalyanpur. Nayyar did not have to look back after Aarpaar. At home unfortunately, the happy days did not last long. The couple was blessed with three children, two sons Tarun and Arun and a daughter Neena. At the same time "the other woman" became very relevant in Guru Dutt's life and things for the couple was never the same again. Guru Dutt's love for Waheeda Rehman caused serious marital discord and the husband started staying out of home most of the time and started depending on alcohol and sleeping pills, the dose of which increased day by day. Geeta suffered from depression on the other hand and found solace in alcohol. After a violent quarrel one day, Geeta threatened Guru Dutt that she would never sing in his films. Guru Dutt immediately contacted Lata Mangeshkar, who agreed readily to sing for Kagaz Ke Phool. However, Geeta came to know of this and went straight to Lata and requested her to dissociate herself from the project. Lata listened sympathetically, understood the situation and called Guru Dutt and told him that she would not be able to sing for him. So Guru Dutt went to back to his wife. Meantime, Geeta's career suffered badly with her almost never being ready for the recordings in time. At times she was drowned in alcohol and when sober she was mentally too upset to turn up to the studios to rehearse or to record. Music directors gradually shied away, there was neither the time nor the need to wait for Geeta for others were available. Life had become miserable for Geeta. Sometime in the late fifties, Guru Dutt probably made a serious effort for a make up with his wife. Things had gone far, but perhaps not beyond repair. Guru planned a film Gauri, with Geeta as the heroine in the title role. Some shooting was done and Geeta felt better, regained some confidence. However, film was shelved for reasons unknown. Again, when Kanan Devi's husband director Haridas Bhattacharjee approached Guru Dutt to do Srikanta's role in Abhaya O Srikanta (1965), Guru Dutt agreed readily but insisted that Geeta should get the role of heroine Abhaya. Haridas Bhattacharjee was hesitant about taking Geeta, because the role required not singing but acting prowess, but Guru Dutt remained firm. Some shots from Gauri were shown to Bhattacharjee, who still did not feel very confidant. Guru Dutt probably wanted Geeta to return to a stable and healthy mental state. However, cutting off Waheeda Rehman from his life seemed to be impossible and confronted with the situation of keeping both the wife and the lover happy at the same time, one fatal night, took an overdose of sleeping pills, whether by accident or by choice is debatable. He was found dead in the early hours of the ninth day of October, 1964. The Bengal situation had been somewhat different for Geeta. She continued to sing almost till the death of her husband, nothing big quantity wise but superb as far as quality was concerned. Her Bengali basic songs like Krishnachura Agun Tumi, Sachimata Go, Krishnanagar Thekey Ami, Bhaber Kheya Ebar Baowa and several others continue to haunt music lovers even today. For the Bengali films she sang for the heroines mainly till the end and senior music directors like Robin Chattopadhyay, Anil Bagchi, Hemanta Mukherjee, Sudhin Dasgupta used her voice to full advantage.

After the death of Guru Dutt, financial problems took a serious turn and Geeta had to go back to music directors and producers for work. Nothing much came out of these appeals. She took up singing in public functions again but here again the bottle only helped her to slip down the stairs. Here one must mention the role played by Hemanta Mukherjee on one such occasion. A function had been arranged in Calcutta with Hemanta and Geeta, from Bombay, as the main singers. Tickets sold by their name and the other singers were mainly local newcomers. The audience cheered merrily when Geeta took over the mike, but Hemanta was quite alarmed, he felt that Geeta was heavily bottled and barely managed to stand on the dais. He rose to the occasion as an elder brother would and entered the stage and announced that Geeta and he had decided to sing their duets that evening. This was greeted with more cheers. Hemanta did all the singing while Geeta just joined him where she could. The entire stage management passed off well and the audience did not get to know what had actually happened. There were occasions when Geeta was shooed out of the stage by the public.

Music director Kanu Roy in his maiden venture as music director, gave her one of the two songs in Uski Kahani (1966), the unforgettable Aaj Ki Kalighata. In the mid sixties, director/producer/actor Ajay Biswas, offered her a role opposite Pradeep Kumar in a Bengali film Badhubaran (1967). Geeta had one of the four songs here and in spite of Kamal Dasgupta's music, the film and the song flopped. Her career was finished for all practical purposes after 1962 after Sahib Bibi Ghulam (1962) and alcohol was her only companion. However, in 1971, she was called by the Gramophone Company of India to record two songs for Durga-Puja time release. The two songs (O Bodhu Shono O Amay Bolo and Anjan Diyechhi Chokhey, music by Swapan and Jagmohan with lyrics by Mukul Datta in an extended play record with one song in each side on Odeon label) became quite popular though not great hits. Kanu Roy, in his next venture gave her three songs for Anubhav (1971). Mera dil Jo Mera Hota, Meri Jaan and Koi Chupke Se Aake from Anubhav showed clearly that in spite of all the calamities, she could sing and sing well enough. These songs' popularity could mean a second innings for her. However all this came rather late in the day and with her liver badly damaged from cirrhosis, a possible second innings came to be a non-starter. Considering the market of Geeta's 1971 Puja songs, the company invited her again to record two more songs for the 1972 Pujas. The day was the thirteenth day of July, 1972. Geeta called up the studio and informed that she was unwell and would not be available that afternoon. The authorities took for granted that the real reason for her absence was the bottle again. However, she was hospitalized again and exactly a week later on the twentieth of July, 1972 she breathed her last at Harkisandas Hospital.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dr. Jyoti Prakash Guha <jyotiprakasguha@rediffmail.com>

Spouse (1)

Guru Dutt (26 May 1953 - 10 October 1964) ( his death)

Trivia (1)

Arun Dutt, Tarun Dutt and Neena were the three children of Geeta and Guru Dutt.

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