Geeta Dutt was born in 1930 into a rich zamindar's family
as Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri in Faridpur, (then in Bengal,
India; now in Bangladesh). In 1942, her parents shifted to
an apartment in Dadar, Bombay (now Mumbai) when she was twelve.
There, composer/music director Hanuman Prasad once overheard
her singing casually, and, feeling impressed, he offered to
impart her training in singing. He launched her in a chorus
song in Bhakta Prahlad (1946), where she sang only two lines.
But her rendering of those two lines stood out. The following
year, she got a major assignment as a playback singer for
Do Bhai, and her renderings in that movie brought Geeta to
the forefront as a top playback singer.
Burman recognized the magic in Geeta's voice through her songs
in "Do Bhai". He effectively used the Bengali lilt
in her voice in movies like Devdas (1955) and Pyasa (1957).
The song "Aaj Saajan Mohe Ang Lagaa Lo" in "Pyasa"
is a prime example of a Bengali keertan being presented in
its Hindi version.
composer O.P. Nayyar's direction, Geeta further developed
into a singer who could sing almost any kind of song, be it
soft, snappy, teasing, or sad. She, Shamshad Begum and Lata
Mangeshkar were the premier female playback singers in the
1950s. According to some estimates she has sung for around
100 composers during her career!
third composer who gave her many hit songs was Hemant Kumar.
Some other popular composers for whom she sang were Shanker-Jaikishen,
Chitragupt, Bulo C Rani, Hansraj Behl, Husnlal-Bhagatram and
During Geeta's recording of songs for the movie Baazi, she
met the movie's young and upcoming director, Guru Dutt. Their
romance culminated in marriage on 26 May 1953. Geeta went
on to sing some of her best songs in his movies while continuing
to sing in various other assignments as well. Geeta and Guru
Dutt had three children: Tarun (b. 1954), Arun (b. 1956),
and Nina (b. 1962).
1957, Guru Dutt launched a movie, "Gauri",' with
Geeta as its singing star. It was to be India's first movie
in Cinemascope, but the project was shelved after only a few
days of shooting. By then, their marriage was on the rocks,
Guru Dutt had got romantically involved with Waheeda Rehman,
and Geeta had taken to drinking. The breakup of their marriage
affected Geeta's singing career.
1958, S.D. Burman had developed discord with Lata Mangeshkar
as a playback singer, and he attempted to work with Geeta
as the main singer of his compositions rather than the upcoming
Asha Bhosle, who, he felt, was relatively raw. However, out
of her personal problems, Geeta would not practice her art
sufficiently, and failed to meet Burman's demanding standards.
(He, and O.P. Nayyar too, then started to work with Asha and
helped her blossom as a singer.)
1964, Guru Dutt died from a combination of alcohol and an
overdose of sleeping pills. (His death was widely perceived
as a suicide following two earlier attempts) Geeta then suffered
a serious nervous breakdown, and also ran into financial problems.
She tried to resume her singing career, cutting discs at Durga
Puja, and giving stage shows. She also performed in a leading
role in a Bengali movie, Bhadu Bharan (1967), and sang admirably
for a movie, Anubhav (1971), which turned out to her final
performance to the music of Kanu Roy.
died of cirrhosis of the liver on 20 July 1972.
list of notable songs
She is supposed to have sung over 1200 songs in Hindi films.
In addition she has also sung songs in many Indian regional
languages including Marathi, Bengali, Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri
of the memorable songs sung under S.D. Burman's direction
'Mera sundar sapna beet gaya' (Do Bhai - 1947 )
'Woh sapnewaali raat' (Pyaar - 1950 )
'Tadbir se bigdi hui taqdeer' (Baazi - 1951 )
'Aan milo aan milo' (Devdas - 1955 ) with Manna Dey
'Aaj sajan mohe ang lagalo' (Pyaasa - 1957 )
'Hum Aapke Aankhon Main' (Pyaasa - 1957 )
'Hawa dhire aana' (Sujata - 1959 )
'Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam ' (Kaagaz Ke Phool - 1959 )
of the memorable songs sung under O.P. Nayyar's direction
'Zara saamne aa' (Baaz - 1953 )
'Babuji dhire chalna' (Aar Paar - 1954 )
'Thandi hawa kali ghata' (Mr. & Mrs. '55 - 1955 )
'jaane kahan mera jigar gaya ji' (Mr. & Mrs. '55 - 1955
'Jab badal lehraya' (Chchoomantar - 1956 )
'Mere zindagi ke humsafar' (Shrimati 420 - 1956 )
'Jaata kahan hai' (C.I.D. - 1956)
'Aye Dil Hain Mushkil' (aka 'Bombay Meri Jaan') (C.I.D. -
1956), with Mohammed Rafi
'Chor, lutere, daku'( Ustad - 1957 )
'Mera naam chin chin choo' (Howrah Bridge - 1958 )
'Kaisa jadoo balam tune dara' (12 o'clock - 1958 )
of the memorable songs sung under Hemant Kumar's direction
Na Jaao Saiyaan Chhuda Ke Baiyaan (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam -
Kaise Rokoge Aise Toofan Ko (Anandmath - 1952 ) with Talat
Madbhari Hain Pyar Ki Palken (Fashion - 1957 )
Na Yeh Chand Hoga (Shart - 1954)
Piya Aiso Jiya mein Samaye Gayo (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam - 1962
Chale Aao Chale Aao (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam - 1962 )
Some memorable Bengali songs :
go char juge hai' (1950)
'Ekhan-o dustar lajja' (1952)
'Ei Sundar Swarnali Sandhyay' (Hospital, 1960; Music: Amal
'Katha achhe tumi aj asbe (Kanu Ghosh 1960)
'Ei Mayabi Tithi' (Shonar Horin, 1959; Music: Hemant Mukherjee)
'Tumi Je Amar'  (Harano Sur, 1958; Music: Hemant Kumar)
'Nishiraat Banka Chand Aakashe' (Prithibi Aamare Chaay, 1957;
Music: Nachiketa Ghosh)
'Jhanak Jhanak Kanak Kankan baaje'
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