Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish (or "S D Batish" as he is more famously known as) is a famous composer singer from Hindi Film music world. He has been a stalwart on the Indian music scene since 1936. His songs have been broadcast from All India Radio nationwide and old movies featuring his songs/compositions are regularly shown on Indian TV. He was a true master of the various vocal and instrumental styles of North Indian music, including Bhajans, Geet, Thumri, Ghazals, Film Sangeet, etc. Some of his outstanding films are Betab, Bahu Beti, Toofan, Harjeet, Tipu Sultan, Ham Bhi Kuch Kam Nahin, and Amar Keertan. As a composer he worked with most of the popular playback singers such as Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Talat Mahmood, Mohammad Rafi, Sudha Malhotra, Manna Dey, and Geeta Dutt. Some of his all time hit songs are, Pagadi Sambhal Jatta, Khamosh Nigahen, and Aakhen Kehe Gayi Dil Ki Baat. We have already discussed Geeta Dutt's songs with Batish as composer here. Here we will brief about his songs with Geeta Dutt as a co-singer.
When Geeta Roy began her career as playback singer in the year 1946, Shiv Dayal Batish was already composing music and singing for other composers. She did sing her first duet with Mohammad Rafi the same year, yet her first song with Batish as co-singer came almost three years later. In fact this year saw release of as many as three songs sung by Batish and Geeta together. Mohd Rafi was the trio partner in the two songs they sang for the film Hamari Manzil (1949) starring Nirupa Roy. Maestro composer duo Husnlal Bhagatram composed these songs. Incidentally,Geeta Roy sang as many as six songs for them for this film. “Kaante banengi kaliyaa, kaatonse kheltaa jaa” is a sweet romantic song encouraging the lovers to go through the hurdles and adversities of life to achieve the fruits of love. The other song “Wo aur zamana thaa, yeh aur zamana hai, badla hua duniya mein ulfat ka fasaana hai” is more like a parody of lovers of those days (in comparison with the great lovers like Heer-Ranjha, Laila-Majnu etc.)
Listen to these genuinely funny and mischievous lines:
Kal hasrat-E-Majnu ne Laila ko yeh khat likha…
Main kaise miloon Laila, Petrol nahin milata.. Petrol nahin milata..
Aji kya kare sahab ..kya pyar kare koi Rashan ka zamana hain..
The issue of “Ratioining” (Controlling the supplies through government channels) is very light-heartedly mentioned here by lyricist Rajinder Krishan. Interestingly, the opening line of this song is sung by an unidentified male singer. Some music lovers mention that it could be possible that Pandit Husnlal might have sung it.
Geeta and Batish sang a lovely romantic duet for composer Hansraj Behl for the film Karwat released the same year. "Main angoor ki bel piya more" was this song which saw these two melodious voices blend perfectly. The lyrics (though very suggestive and tasteful) were quite bold compared to the songs of those days. “Lipat lipat kar jaaoon, main tora ang gang sehalaaoon..more sang khel mere piya..”.
The next year saw release of another romantic duet, yet again a Husnlal Bhagatram composition, sung by Geeta Roy and Batish for the film Surajmukhi. The song is "Suniye huzoor pyar ka charcha na kijiye". The sincerity in the voices of Batish and Geeta is so down to earth yet so heart-warming when they sing this song.
Two years later, Batish composed music for the Geeta Bali starrer "Bahu Beti". Geeta Roy was the lead singer for this film and she sang almost all the songs for this film. Kaifi Azmi's creative poetry coupled with simple and hummable tune of Batish brought out probably the best duet sung by Geeta and Batish. "Nazdeek na aana, na mujhe haath lagaana" is that melodious song and it is a regular feature on Radio Cylone's program “Bhoole bisre geet”. In comparison with the earlier duets sung by Batish and Geeta, this duet was a lot more “Chulbulaa”, “Chanchal” and “Natkhat”. Batish effortlessly and sweetly sings “Dil mera churanaa, mujhe deewana banana, yeh sharart nahin achhee..”. Though he did not have a razor-sharp voice like Mohammad Rafi, the expressiveness in his singing is very natural and soothing.
Young Geeta Roy is at her best when she sings “ Ulfat ka fasaana kahin sun le na zamanaa, yeh murabbat nahin achhee..”. The sweet and flexible tonal quality coupled with the ability of “acting the song through the voice” surely makes Geeta a memorable singer. When one compares her singing in this song with the rest of the songs in this film (Mose chanchal jawani, Kaise le aaoon rakhiya main bhaiyya more, Dil jala yaadein jail, Gori dulhaniya mori gori dulhaniya and Ghumak ghumak mora baaje ghungharva) it is very obvious that she was able to emulate the right feelings of each of the songs. That is what sets her apart from her contemporaries!
After this year, Geeta continued to sing for composer Batish in films like Haar Jeet, Toofaan, Amar Kirtan (all released in the year 1954) and Ek Armaan Mera (1959), but did not sing a duet with him. In the late fifties there was a film titled "Shehzaadi" which had a light-hearted comic song "Chunnilal tera bura haal" sung by Geeta Dutt and Batish. This film never released and we are not sure if its songs were released on the records or not. This ill-fated song turned out to be the last song Geeta and Batish ever sang together.
All in all, Batish and Geeta sang just six songs together, out of which half were composed by the composer duo Husnlal Bhagatram. It’s a pity that when both these singers were in their primes (late forties and early forties), they did not get many chances to sing together.