Chalk and Cheese? (Part-2)

Geeta Dutt with RK

This is the continuation on the earlier post “Chalk and Cheese?” which received a lot of mixed responses from a wide range of music lovers on the net. Since this topic (songs of Geeta ji in RK films) has not much talked about, I felt like continuing the discussion by adding more angles to the story.

One correction to the earlier statement that Geeta ji sang just one song for films made by Raj Kapoor. Raj Kapoor made a smaller budget film titled “Ab Dilli Door Nahin” which was released in the year 1957. It was based on children and his regular composers (Shanker Jaikishen) supposedly refused to compose the music for this low budget film. They advised Raj to give the responsibility of composing music for this film to their long time assistant Dattaram. (Dattaram is a person who is very much different from K. Dutta (or Datta Korgaonkar) or N Dutta (Dattaram Naik) and continued to assist Shanker Jaikishen.)

This film features as many as three songs which have been sung by Geeta Dutt, but all three of them are heavily chorus based songs. Geeta accompanies Asha Bhonsle and Sudha Malhotra (and of course the chorus singers) in these songs. Out of the three songs, one song (“Yeh chaman hamara apna hain”) is relatively known to music lovers.

At least, being a Geeta devotee, I would not dare to call these 3 songs as “songs of Geeta Dutt”. She is merely used as a supporting voice in all the 3 songs. The melody scale, situation and filming of the songs is equally common place. Hence one would not truly “count” these 3 songs as “songs of Geeta Dutt” sung for Raj Kapoor films per say!

Ab Dilli Door Nahin – Hum Raghuvar Ke Gun Gaave Re – Asha Bhonsle, Geeta Dutt & Chorus

Ab Dilli Door Nahin – Ek Nazar Idhar Bhi – Asha Bhonsle, Geeta Dutt & Sudha Malhotra

Ab Dilli Door Nahin – Yeh Chaman Hamaara Apna Hai – Asha Bhonsle, Geeta Dutt & Chorus

Now coming to the main topic of discussion: Why we do not see much of Geeta Dutt’s voice in Raj Kapoor films? Not that we are obsessed with Raj Kapoor, but one can not deny that most of his films and their music has survived over 50 plus years and sounds melodious till date. Again, at least I have not read much about this topic anywhere, hence wanted to explore it further. One of the strongest reasons (as pointed out earlier by our friend Dr Mohan Dev ji) is that Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt (whom Geeta Dutt was married to) were professional rivals. It seems to be natural that Raj Kapoor did not invite the wife of his professional rival to sing songs for his films.

Composer duo Shankar Jaikishen made their debut with Barsaat which was released in the year 1949. Earlier they had worked as assistant to Ram Ganguly who had composed the music for Raj Kapoor’s first film Aag (1948). The point to be noted here is that Geeta Roy was the number one female playback singer when the music for the film Barsaat was being composed. The only element that continued from the team of Aag to Barsaat was singer Mukesh. The composers, the other singers, lyricists all were roped in fresh with Barsaat. It was like taking a fresh guard for Raj Kapoor and his team.

Many websites indicate that Guru Dutt did not want his wife to sing for banners outside his own films (due to various reasons). This in a way did not help Geeta becoming the first choice of the composers. With the responsibilities coming via the married life and motherhood, Geeta was also cutting down on her assignments. In fact, in one of the interviews she gave in the year 1957, she was planning of taking retirement from her singing career.

Even outside Raj Kapoor films, Shankar Jaikishen rarely gave quality songs to Geeta Dutt. In fact, the total number of songs she has sung for them is just 11. Most of them are duets, trio and group songs. As a matter of fact, the only solo song they gave to her is “Kareeb aao, na tadapaao” filmed on Kanchanamala.

We will continue to explore such rarely talked about areas related to Geeta Dutt’s singing.

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