Geeta Dutt: The Skylark


Geeta Dutt : The Skylark is a 231-page hardbound book, with 130 rare photographs, excerpts of love-letters written by husband Guru Dutt and transcripts of more than hundred songs, many of them are so rare that Haimanti had to scout for months on end to get hold of an audio.

Haimanti, a two-time national award winning filmmaker who was also Satyajit Ray’s first choice for the role of Bimala in Ghare Baire feels Geeta Dutt did not get her due when she was alive. With many hither-to-unknown revelations, the biography is a reflective, sensitive take on the singer’s personal life as well as an astute analysis of her career.

Her’s was a voice you could see, feel and experience. For it was a voice that danced, cried and allured with a versatility rarely seen in Hindi film music. And it is this extraordinary magic of the legendary singer that Pune-based film maker and author Haimanti Banerjee is striving to capture in the first ever biography being written on Geeta Dutt, who would have turned 79 on November 23rd this year.

Painstakingly gathering tidbits of information since the past five years to piece together her life story, Banerjee says the book is a tribute to the genius of Dutt, who never really got her due in life.
‘‘I want to establish that contrary to popular conception, Geeta Dutt’s career neither started nor ended with Guru Dutt. She was a much established singer when he was a struggling director in the late 40s and early 50s. No one director or composer made her — she was in a class of her own,’’ says Banerjee.

To this end Banerjee has spent considerable time studying and analysing Dutt’s singing career to make for a ‘‘compendium’’ that will have the complete lyrics of Dutt’s most important songs accompanied by their English translations. For instance, there are some five pages devoted to Tabdeer se bigri hui taqdeer bana de which marked Dutt’s transition from lachrymose numbers to peppy ones.

There is also an exploration of the kind of music directors, lyricists and actresses Dutt sang for and their relation with her, with some rare pictures obtained from her family members, especially son Arun Dutt. And though comments on her subject’s personal life have been studiously avoided, an analysis of the Guru Dutt-Geeta Dutt relationship finds a place in the book.

According to Banerjee, the greatest difficulty in doing research on Dutt has been the non-availability of the singer’s body of work. ‘‘Can you believe there was this one journal with a series of four volumes on Hindi film music and Geeta Dutt’s name came up only twice in it?’’ exclaims the writer who calls Harminder’s Geet Kosh her bible for Dutt’s bibliography.

More details about the book and how can one get it are on our main website here.

We strongly recommend reading this book which tells so many unknown aspects of Geeta Dutt’s life as a singer and as a person.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply