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Birth anniversary tribute : Romancing the Song

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

** This tribute was posted on the Facebook group Romancing the Song on 23rd November 2015. ***

Geeta Dutt

Today is 23rd November 2015 and it would have been her 85th birthday if Geeta Dutt ji were with us. Even though it has been over 40 years since she has left us for heavenly abode, she is always alive in the hearts of her fans and music lovers. I have been listening to her songs since childhood and it has been my passion to find her rare songs, listen to her songs and share her songs through various online avenues like HamaraForums, Youtube and now Facebook. This same day in the year 2008, a team of her fans including yours truly launched the website dedicated to her.
I have tried to capture the versatility, range and the soul (bhaav) of her singing through this write-up. When I listen to Geeta Dutt’s songs, I kind of get confused. Is she the one who sang ” Main toh giridhar ke ghar jaaon” for Nargis as Jogan or the one who sang “Oh baabu oh lalaa” for the vivacious Smriti Biswas. The one who was selling fruits and vegetables in the voice of a kid in the song “Phal ki bahar hain kele anaar hain” or was she the one who was singing for lost love “Aaoge na saajan aaoge naa” for Nargis in Jaan Pehchaan.

Geeta Dutt

The semi-classical “Baat chalat nayi chnari rang daari” from Ladki was a “natkhat” complaint made to God Krishna and (at the same time) the same voice was singing “Na yeh chaand hoga na taare rahenge” in Shart and was vouching to be together forever. Undoubtedly the sincerity and depth in her voice is instrumental in keeping her memories alive till date and for years to come.
Through the tune of “Koi door se awaaz de chale aao” one could hear the pathos of lady longing for her lover and she was also questioning, “Chanda chandani mein jab chamke, kya ho aa mile joh koi chham se, poonchhate ho kya humse?” through a club song filmed on her namesake Geeta Bali. The charming Rehana, on the rhythm of train music was singing in Geeta Dutt’s voice “Dhak dhak karati chali, hum sab se kehati chali jeevan ki rel re, muhabbat ka naam hain dilonkaa mel re” in Dev Anand starrer Dilruba.
She was Shyama who was questioning herself “Aye dil mujhe bataa de tu kis pe aa gaya hain?” and was teasing her friend in the song “Ankhiyan bhool gayi hain sona”. There was mischief and innocence of a sixteen year old girl in the song “Chanda khele ankh michauli badali se nadi kinaare, dulhan khele phagan holi” and there was an experienced senior’s advice in the song “Tora manawa kyoun ghabarayein re” from Saadhna. The lady who sang “Mera sundar sapna beet gaya” was also the dancing queen in the song “Merra naam chin chin chu, raat chaandni main aur tu, hallo mister how do you do”. She was singing romantic and sensuous tune of “Kal raat piya ne baat kahin kuchh aisi, matawala bhanwara kahein kali se jaisi” for Abhimaan.
Talking of duets, on one hand there was a practical complaint of “Kal saajana milnaa yahan, hain tamaam kaam dhaam re, aaj naa aaj naa” with Mohd Rafi and on the other hand a super romantic song “Tumse hi meri zindagi meri bahaar tum” was being sung with Mukesh. Along with the soulful tune of “Armaan bhare dil ki lagan tere liye hain” with Talat, she was pleading not to come in her thoughts through the song “Khayalon mein kisike isi tarahein aaya nahin karate”. A true blue romantic song “Raat hain armaan bhari aur kya suhani raat hain, aaj bichhade dil mile hain tera mera saath hain” had a companion in the song “Aan milo aan milo shyam sanware, Brij mein akeli raadhe khoyi khoyi phire” which was drenched in the love of Lord Krishna and his lover Radha. These songs came from different composers, different lyricists, different co-singers and a wide range of artists on whom these songs were filmed, but the magic of her voice was truly alive through all these songs.
Geeta Dutt

Along with the modern and mystical thoughts of “Mera dil jo mera hota, palakon pe pakad leti” – Anubhav, there were beautiful poetic thoughts of “Dharati se door gore badalon ke paar aaja, aaja basale naya sansaar” a sweet duet with Asha filmed on kids. There was perfect teasing in “Miya mera bada beimaan, meri nikali re kismat khoti” with Balbir and there was sublime happiness in “Mujhko tum joh mile, yeh jahan mil gaya”. There was this sensuous song “Mose chanchal jawani sambhali nahin jaayein” for a young girl and there was a song for the mother who was blessing her child with “Mere munne re, seedhi raah pe chalna, jug jug tak phoolna phalna”. She was asking her lover “Raja mohe le chal tu dilli ki sair ko” and then there was another naughty lover complaining in the song “Luckhnow chalo ab raani, bambai ka bigadaa paani”. She was dancing with her friends in “Chalo paniya bharanko patali kamariyape chhalake gagariyaa ho” and going to the river to fetch water, and there was sadness in “Baabul ka more aangan chhuta, chhuti re mori sakhiyaan” when the heroine was going to her husband’s place after the marriage.
Geeta Dutt
There were modern and contemporary feelings in the (non-film) song “Gaaye gaaye gaaye, hum naye taraane gaayein” and also had the sweetness of Radha’s call to Lord Krishna in (another non-film song) “Jamuna ke teer kanhaa aao, ro ro pukaare raadha”. In another song, her most popular non-film number ”Haule haule, haayein dole..” there was magic of Bengal and in “Ud pud jaaniya” there was earthly feelings of the land of Punjab. She was singing “Aamar shonar bangla desh” in Bengali in a Hindi film song (“Uttar mein hain khada himalay” from Pyar ki Pyaas) and was singing a Hindi song “Tere liye aaya hain leke koi dil” in a Bengali film for Helen.
On the rhythm of “Taalion naa taale” (in Gujrati) she was making one perform the traditional Garba dance and was praying Lord Ganesha with “Ganapati bapaa moraya, pudhalya warshi laukar yaa” in Marathi. She sang songs for a Nepali film made by Mala Sinha in the year 1966 and also sang songs in Bhojpuri like “Jaan laike hatheli pe chal bain, zamane se naa dar bain raam” with Manna Dey. The loving mother of three was singing “Nanhee kali sone chali, hawa dheere aana” and was also singing “Maane na maane maane na, tere bin mora jiya naa mane” for the courtesan. Goddess Parvati was singing in her voice “Gun gun gun Gun gun gun Gun gun gun gunjan karata bhanvra, tum kaun sandesaa laaye” and she was singing for a club dancer “Ek naya tarana ek naya phasana ek nayee kahanee hu main, ek rang rangeeli ek chhail chhabilee madmast jawani hoon main”. She had become a peahen and was singing “Aaja chhaye kaare badara” and was also encouraging us by singing “Aaj nahin toh kal, bikharenge yeh baadal, oh raat ke bhoole hue musafir subah hui ghar chal ab ghar chal re”

She was making you dance on a highly westernized waltz tune like “Mujhe huzoor tumse pyar hain, tumhi pe zindagi nissar hain” and was melody at her best in the Indian classical based “Mere nainon mein preet mere hothon pe geet mere sapnon mein tum hi samaaye”. She used to sing songs of such different genres and of vast range that the listener would be amazed. She sang “Kabhi akad kar baat na karna humse are mawali” and then with the same composer singer she sang “Jai jagdeesh hare” and made it an immortal song. With the legendary Mohd Rafi she has sung such sweet and melodious songs that they are very enjoyable and memorable. For the film Musafirkhana she sang, “Achha ji maaf kar do, thodaa insaaf kar do” and then with him sang soft and dreamy duet like “Chupke se mile pyaase pyaase”.
Geeta Dutt
Whether she was singing a solo song or just a few words in a song, she used to leave her impression for sure. Almost every one knows the super-hit song “Aye dil hain mushkil jeena yahan” from CID, which she sang with the great singer Mohd Rafi. She sings just a few lines at the end of the song. The way she sings “Dadagiri nahin chalne ki yahan” truly makes this song memorable. Another example is a lullaby song “Aa jaa ri nindiyaa” which she sings with Parul Ghosh for the film Nai Maa(1946). Geeta sings just the first 2 lines of the song, which are very sweet and melodious.
Whether she was singing with a singer senior to her (Mukesh, Shamshad Beghum or Zohrajaan Ambalawali for example) or with new singers (Asha Bhonsle, Mubarak Beghum, Suman Kalyanpur, Mahendra Kapoor or singer actress Nutan for example) she was just herself. Neither did she try to dominate any one not did she get bogged down by a senior singer/got impressed by some one losing her own identity. She also sang songs with actors like Sundar, Bharat Bhushan, Pran, Nutan, Ashok Kumar, Surendra Nath and of course the all rounder Kishore Kumar!
Geeta Dutt

She started singing for films in the year 1945 but with the songs of film Do Bhai she became a rage among the music lovers in a very short time. For next 5 years (1947 to 1952), she was one of the most popular singers along with Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Beghum. In her career spanning 25 years, she sang an overall of approximate 1500 songs for more than 150 composers in Hindi, Bengali, Gujrati, Marathi, Punjabi, Maithili, and Bhojpuri etc.

It has been more than 35 years since Geeta has left us. Actually by mid fifties itself she was slowly moving away from the film world due to some reason or other. In today’s world, when people may not like to listen to even recently made songs, why some one would like to give a hearing to songs which were probably made even before they (the listeners) were born. The simple fact is that Geeta’s songs have warmth, sweetness and a personality, which has sung every song in her own style. Be it the heroine, side heroine, vamp, club-dancer or a beggar on the street, she sang songs for each of these characters in different moods and styles. Geeta had her own style and individuality and is evident in her singing. Some one said that her voice had sweetness of honey and sting of a bee. Some one said she was Thandi hawa and Kaali ghata rolled into one. Some one said she used sing from the heart not from her throat.
Music lovers will always remember the magic of the sweet voice of the Koyal Geeta Dutt nee Roy who has spread so much happiness and joy in their lives.