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(1930 - 1972)


Nasir Ali is a veteran music lover and huge fan of Mohd Rafi sahab based in India. He has been a great contributor to discussion associated with the golden era of Hindi film music through innovative, interesting and informative posts on his blog page here. We are grateful to Nasir ji for coming up with this detailed write up on the contribution of Geeta Roy in the forties on our special request.

Even when we restrict ourselves to Geeta Roy of the Nineteen Forties we cannot but marvel at her transformation from the unknown child to the idol of the millions when she had not even crossed her teens.

We do know that she belonged to the rich Zamindar family of Debendranath Ghosh Roy Chowdhary and was one of the tenth children born to Amiya Devi on November 23, 1930 at Faridpur in Central Bengal. Leaving their titled land and other property, the family had to shift to Calcutta in early Forties and in 1942 they shifted to Bombay (now Mumbai). The reasons for this are circumstantial and not too far to seek. Bengal had been a great nationalist centre during the British Raj. It was divided into West Bengal and the East Bengal by Lord Curzon in 1905. The two parts were again reunited in 1911 and the separate states of Bihar and Orissa were also created with the capital being shifted to Delhi. Bengal came to be finally partitioned in 1947 when Pakistan was also created. The eastern portion of Bengal which was dominantly Muslim was created as East Pakistan and that in 1971 came to be liberated as the Bangla Desh. Faridpur is the paragna of the Adilpur (or Idilpur) Village where Geeta Roy was born, and is part of that portion of Bengal.

The early Forties were the worst time for the world in general and India in particular. The Japanese were trying to make inroads to India and in fact by 1942 had occupied Burma. The British India Government adopted the "scorched earth" policy beginning at Chittagong to stop the food supplies to the Japanese. In 1943, there was a horrendous famine in Bengal when more than 3.5 million died. The dead were being removed to the rural areas to keep the cities clean. With the Japanese at the doors, it was quite likely that people began to flee from rural lands and areas much earlier and made their way to the cities. Calcutta (now Kolkata) was the capital of undivided Bengal at that time. Perhaps this might have been reason for Geeta Roy's family migrating to Calcutta just before millions of refugees began pouring into the cities, especially, Calcutta. Other prominent migrants included Kazi Abdul Wadud, the educationist and writer, Humayun Kabir who was a politician, educationist and writer; Poet Sunil Gangopadhyay, and many other eminent people from Faridpur.

It seems that even Calcutta could not guarantee peace and security. Bombay was fast rising as the most promising city of India, some even calling it "Sone ki Chidiya", "the Golden Bird" or the El Dorado. By 1943, the cracking up of system in the New Theatres too became evident. In fact, this was the fate of all studio-system giving rise to independent movie makers who went on to make their own film-studios. Many artistes, too, were looking westwards to Bombay which was cosmopolitan in nature. Bombay it was that became the melting pot of the many talents that came from different parts of India, notably from the Punjab, the United Province (UP) and Bengal. The folk-tunes of UP and Rajasthan, the Rabindra Sangeet of Bengal and the Heer and the Bhangra-based songs of Punjab with a liberal dose of rhythmic dholak were all welcome. Even K.C. Dey the famous visually-impaired singer and actor had to shift to Bombay in 1942 temporarily. So what the family of Geeta Roy did was the dictate of the circumstances. Fortunately for them, they could afford to buy a flat in Dadar which was the hub of the filmy activities. Geeta was just twelve year old then.

Thereafter, for the next three-four years the young Geeta would pursue her studies just like any normal girl. The Bengali High School she attended was fortunate: for even after attaining name and fame Geeta Roy or Geeta Dutt would never fail to attend the Durga Pooja held in the school every year right up to 1971 since she was no more in 1972! As a girl, fortunately for her, she would have come across people of diverse communities and this must have brushed her Hindi language considerably. But singing was her first love and it is said that it was at Faridpur itself that she used to receive training in elementary music from a family relative named Harendranath Nandi. She picked up folk songs and music and also picked up songs from the gramophone records and films at her native place. What happened at Dadar, strikes a parallel in the career of both Geeta Roy and Lata Mangeshkar: While it was Ghulam Haider the noted music director who had heard Lata singing in the train to herself, in Geeta's case it was music director Pandit Hanuman Prasad who, while walking in the street below, heard her singing in the balcony of her flat. Both of them were thus discovered and groomed by music directors in the early part of their career. But for Geeta, it was earlier: 1946!

It was in the year 1946 that Geeta Roy sang for Pandit Hanuman Prasad in a mythological movie, Bhakt Prahlad. The lines AB JAANI RE PEHCHAANI RE; and SUNO SUNO VINTEE HAMAARI were to transform her life from an unknown school girl to that of an established playback singer. The other two songs of her with chorus were: SUNO SUNO HARI KI LEELA and JAAG UTHE HAMM JAAG UTHE.

There were some other 1946 releases where she showed her calibre as the female playback singer. For Hanuman Prasad who had four releases in 1946, Geeta sang a couple of songs in Raseeli and Nai Maa. In Raseeli her songs were: NAINON KI PYALI SE HOTON KI MADIRA and NEHA LAGAKE MUKH MOD GAYAA, while Nai Maa had the lullaby or ‘Lori' number: AAJAA RI NINDIYA AAJAA. She sang this lori song with established playback singer Parul Ghosh.

As early as 1946 she sang for the phenomenal music director, Master Ghulam Haider, in the film Bairam Khan which was a Mehtab (future Mrs. Sohrab Modi) starrer. Wali Sahaab penned the song JAB CHAAND JAWAAN HOGAA TAB CHAANDNI RAATON MEIN JANNAT KA SAMAA HOGAA. In this song, Geeta Roy accompanied the most popular female playback singer of those times, Shamshad Begum. The two others who gave them company were Naseem Begum and Munawwar Sultana who went on to become big names in Pakistani playback singing. It must have been during this time that her friendship with her "Aapa" and senior singer Shamshad Begum started. Till date, Shamshad remembers Geeta as one of the finest artists she worked with.

Geeta also sang a solo in Circus King: PREETI KISI KO NA CHHODE which was composed by the duo of Abhyankar Joshi and Nageshwar Rao. Some claim that this song was probably her first released song.

Kashmir Ki Kali had YEH KISNE MERI HASRATON MEIN AAG composed by Master Vithal who was the hero of the movie. Another song in this film was a duet with a male voice, probably Master Vithal himself: HAAY IS PYAAR NE DEEWAANA.

In Rastaa, we have Geeta singing NAYEE BAHAAREN AAYEEN composed by Zafar Khursheed. This reminds us of Pankaj Mullick's famous song AAYEE BAHAAR AHA AHA AHA because Geeta too has that same refrain and the music is fast-paced as in that song.

Milan, we remember as the Dilip Kumar starrer and the first Hindi film of actor Abhi Bhattacharya that was released in 1946. It had music by Anil Biswas the legendary Bengali music director. Geeta Roy has two songs, one being a memorable number: CHHANN MEIN BAJEGI BANSURIYA. The other song was TUMHE SAAJAN MANAAYEN TUM ROOTH JAANAA. In fact she had also recorded two songs for Milan's Bengali version, Nauka Doobi. The audios of these are not easily traceable.

During the next year also, Geeta Roy had a very busy recording schedules. Geeta Roy recorded songs for B. Vasudev who was the music director of the 1947 flick, Neel Kamal - a Madhubala and Raj Kapoor starrer. Following were her songs:


MAA NE BHEJA DHOR CHARANE- with Rajkumari and chorus.

AANKH JO DEKHE HAI DHOKA KHAYE HAI- with Mukesh and Rajkumari.

JAWANI AGAR HOOK DIL KI DABAYE- with Rajkumari and chorus.

BRIJ MEIN DHOOM MACHA JA - with Rajkumari and Bhatker.

Bhookh was an Agha-Narmada-Shaikh Mukhtar starrer, where Geeta Roy recorded a duet song with Shamshad Begum: YEH HASEENON KE MELE ALBELE. Another song AANKH MEIN RAHE KYOON ASHQ was her solo song. So also IS JAGG MEIN GHARIBON KA NA KOI THIKAANA. Music was scored by Anil Biswas.

Chitragupt was the music director of the 1947 release, Jadui Ratan (Magic Gem). It had her following songs:




Sajjad Hussain who was known for his eccentricity, such as chiding Lata Mangeshkar by saying that his was not a Naushad tune "Aap ko Aur Mehnat Karni Padegi." or calling Talat Mehmood as "Ghalat Mehmood" and who even accused Madan Mohan of plagiarism, had unflagging confidence in Geeta Roy when he gave her five solo songs to sing in the movie called Kasam. The songs were:





Some unconfirmed sources mention that this film never got released.

Again in the film Mere Bhagwan, Sajjad Hussain gave some four songs to Geeta Roy. Two of them were:



The second song is particularly sweet and in typical "Sajjad style".

Pehli Pehchan had the musical score of Bulo C. Rani/Hansraj Behl. The former composed MAIN HOON PHOOLON KI RANI,KAANTON MEIN RAHNEWALI. The latter composed MUSKURATE HO KYON, ITRATE HO KYON where Geeta sang along with A.R. Ojha. The same year in Tohfa we have a sad number of Geeta: WOH DIL GAYAA DIL KE SAHAARE CHALE GAYE composed by M.A. Rauf. A touching number this!

Some other movies of 1947, where Geeta Roy recorded her songs were:

OH RAAJA MOHE APNI BANA LE RE in Filmistan's Leela which had music by C. Ramchandra. There was a duet song of hers with Binapani also: MERI AANKHEN CHHAM CHHAM..KYA ISIKA NAAM.

Again, Filmistan's Shehnai had C. Ramchandra as the music director. It was a Nasir Khan-Rehana starrer. There was a comedy song: JAWAANI KI RAIL CHALI JAAYE RE which is filmed on the protagonists performing a stage-show in a fair. Along with Geeta Roy, there were Lata Mangeshkar and Chitalkar (C.Ramchandra) and chorus singing the song. In another song, CHADTI JAWAANI MEIN JHOOLO MERI RAANI, Geeta Roy sang along with Chitalkar and Binapani. This song was very popular in those days.

In Geet Govind (1947) Geeta Roy and G.M. Durrani featured in two trios with Abha for songs composed by Gyan Dutt: CHAMKAT DAMKAT DAMINI, and VIYOGAN DEEPSHIKHA SI JARE.

In Utho Jaago it was Aziz Khan who provided the music. Geeta Roy sang HANS HANS KE under his musical direction.

Gaon (Village) was also a 1947 movie the musical score for which was provided by Khemchand Prakash. There was a Geeta Roy-Mukesh duet which went: WATAN KI MAATI HAATH MEIN LEKAR.

Geeta Roy's voice had captured the imagination of a new music director known as S.D. Burman who had himself come to Bombay in 1944 and despite two odd films had not found his niche. S.D. Burman gave her six out of the nine songs, i.e. four solos and two duets, for the forthcoming film, Do Bhai. Along with her love of music, Geeta continued to pursue her matriculation exams and the next year 1947 brought her double happiness: one of having passed her exams and the other of striking gold with her songs in Do Bhai which was released in 1947.

The Geeta Roy's songs of Do Bhai are:







The success of the music of Do Bhai (especially the song "Mera sundar sapna beet gaya") catapulted Geeta to the top bracket of female playback singers.

Dil Ki Rani was another movie of the year 1947 the music of which was composed by S.D. Burman. Geeta sang: AAYENGE AAYENG RE; KYOON BALAM HAMSE ROOTH GAYE; BIGDI HUWI TAQDEER MERI AAKE BANA DE; AAHA MERE MOHAN NE MUJHKO BULAAYA for this Madhubala-Raj Kapoor starrer. There was also her duet song with two male voices: O DUNIYA KE REHNEWAALE BATAA. (This was the tandem of another solo in the movie sung by Raj Kapoor himself).

S.D. Burman would remember to give Geeta Roy an opportunity to sing a Bangla song KHELA BHANGAR KHELA too in 1950 for the movie Samar. She would continue to sing in Bengali movies till the secondd half of 1960s. The team of S.D. Burman and Geeta Roy-Dutt would produce some 70 memorable songs – the last one being a comedy number, MAIN TERE PYAAR MEIN KYAA KYAA NA BANAA DILBAR, filmed on Shobha Khote and Mehmood in the 1964 flick, Ziddi. Manna Dey was her co-singer. Unfortunately, not much information is available regarding a couple of Geeta Roy's numbers under his musical direction for the 1947 film, Chittor Vijay, which had Madhubala and Raj Kapoor in the lead. Surendra and Wasti were the supporting actors in the said film. One of these songs HO RANGEELA HO RASEELA RAKHI KA DIN AAYA RE is a Shamshad-Geeta Duet.

It is surprising that a few critics have tried to draw a parallel between her life and that of K.L. Saigal. I think it is unfair to both since the parallel is presumably based on the fact that both succumbed to the cirrhosis of liver resulting from excessive drinking. Yes, they both died in their early Forties. But unlike Saigal Saab, Geeta Roy never needed any "Kaali Paanch" for recording her songs. Her bouts of drinking were the result of her depression resulting from a personal tragedy and not some habit or lack of self-confidence. K.L. Saigal was the legendary actor-singer. Geeta Roy was not an actress though she did act opposite Pradeep Kumar in a 1967 Bangla flick, Badhu Bharan, which did not do well. Guru Dutt, who was smitten by her during the Baazi (1951) days and who married her in 1953, had announced India's first cinemascope movie called "Gauri" to launch her as a heroine in 1957. That was shelved after a few days of shooting. I don't know why I get this uncanny feeling that it was "Gauri" that was made into Kaaghaz Ke Phool (1959) in which Waheeda Rehman had the plum heroine's role that was meant for Geeta Roy! Remember the story? The married director Suresh (played by Guru Dutt) falls head over heels in love with the debutante actress, Shanti (played by Waheeda Rehman) and this shatters the conjugal and professional life of Suresh.

When we glance at Geeta Roy's early life in perspective, we find a sort of a parallel between her story and that of the singing legend Mohammed Rafi: In the latter's case, he used to hear a faqir chanting hymns in his village; in the former's case she would for hours on end hear the boat-men singing the boat-songs on the mighty Padma River of the lower Ganga. The effect was the same in both their cases. Both were mesmerised by what they heard, and this deeply ingrained the love of song and music in their willing hearts. Both belonged to the land of rivers: One to the land of five rivers, Punjab, and the other to the land of Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers that have many tributaries. One travelled from Lahore that was to become a part of West Pakistan; while the other travelled from her birth-place, Faridpur, which was to become a part of East Pakistan. Of course, in 1971 East Pakistan achieved liberation to become Bangla Desh. Thus both had to travel hundreds of miles to Bombay in the early Forties, where Lady Fortune was waiting to receive them with open arms.

As early as 1946 itself Geeta Roy sang with Mohammed Rafi in Man Sarovar: JAI HIND....SUNO HIND KI KAHAANIYAAN. This was a lovely patriotic song, a trailor for the 150 plus songs to come in the coming years. Music was by Shankar Rao Vyas. .

Sajan (1947) had very good songs the music of which was rendered by C. Ramchandra. Geeta Roy's songs among those are:


This is a more like gypsy song. Geeta Roy's voice is distinct in this song (which also has Mohammed Rafi, Lalita Deulkar, C.Ramchandra and chorus).


This is a patriotic song where the names of the Indian States and even the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru as "Jawaahar", figure.

The other duets of Geeta-Rafi in the 'Forties' we shall broach presently. Of course Mohammed Rafi and Geet Roy-Dutt went on to sing together over the next decades, and they have no less than 162 hit duets to their credit. This is the maximum number of duets that Geeta Roy has sung with any singer.

In 1948 came Chunariya which had music by Hansraj Behl. PHOOL KO BHOOL KE LE BAITHA KHAAR...TERAA KANTO SE HAI PYAAR PYAAR, which was the duet of Geeta Roy and Mohammed Rafi. This is a philosophical song emphasising that all that glitters is not gold. It has beautiful Alaaps as well by Geeta Roy and Rafi Sahaab. Incidentally, the music in Chunariya put Hansraj Behl among the leading music directors of the day. There was a fun song of Geeta Roy too in this movie: O MOTOR WAALE BABU. Playback singer Asha Bhonsle was introduced in Chunariya in a trio song featuring her with Geeta and Zohrajan Amabalawali. Asha had a couple of lines to sing in this song "Sawan aaya re".

Music director Aziz Khan (sometimes known as Aziz Hindi also) and Khayyam (Sharmaji of the MD Duo Sharmaji-Varmaji then ) too could not escape the charm of the sweet voice of Geeta Roy. Khayyam recorded seven out of twelve songs of Heer Ranjha. Geeta Roy had no less than six songs, some of them duets, in this 1948 flick. They are:


The song is a sad one in memory of the lover who has left his beloved behind. This song seems to be a very different one from the usual style of Geeta Roy and is slightly at a higher pitch. She sounds different  - but excellent.


This one is also a sentimental number of Geeta Roy sung with G.M. Durrani and pertains to the separation of the protagonists remembering the good old days. The use of both Kafas and Qaid seems to be repetitive.


If you want to hear Geeta Roy singing a Punjabi song, the third one is an excellent treat. Its indeed surprising that Punjabi Music Directors like Sardul Kwatra didn't use the Punjabi lilt she shows in this song in the punjabi film industry inspite of used her talents extensively in the later years.

DIL YOON YOON KARTA HAI (Duet with a male voice):

Geeta Roy at her impish, most romantic in the fourth song. It is strange that Ghulam Haider did not utilise her more. Did he miss this song? Amazing 'Harkatein' too by her!

TERI ZAAT HAI AKBARI SARVARI (duet with male voice):

This song is a Muslim devotional song of complaint. Geeta Roy has sung in her usual style.


This is a fun song, celebrating newly-found romance. Here also, Geeta Roy is in her elements.

Thus in Heer Ranjha we have a mixture of genres, sad song, romantic song, devotional song and a regional song too, i.e. Punjabi. It clearly showcases the range and variety in Geeta's singing.

For Ghulam Haider she also sang in the very famous Dilip Kumar-Kamini Kaushal starrer, Shaheed: AAJA BEDARDI BAALMA KOI RO RO PUKAARE. It was for this movie that Lata Mangeshkar was rejected by the producer of the movie. Ghulam Haider picked up another newcomer, Surinder Kaur whose songs became very famous in that period. But Ghulam Haider took it as a challenge to hone the skills of Lata Mangeshkar and offered her a big break to his "discovery" in Majboor (1948). Geeta Roy sang again for Ghulam Haider in this movie too and the song was MAIN TO REH GAYI AAJ AKELI RE. She sang two duets with Lata Mangeshkar: GORI SAKHIYON SE ANKHIYAAN CHURA RAHI RE and HAR SHAY PE JAWAANI HAI.

In the 1948 flick, Padmini, again under the baton of Ghulam Haider, we have several Geeta Roy songs. Her duet with Ashok Kumar SAPERA BEEN BAJAAYO RE was immensely popular. With G.M. Durrani she sang HARI CHUNARIYA WAALI KA DIL ATKA. Then we had Geeta Roy singing AAJA AAJA O BIDESI BAALMA and MORA JIYAA NAHIN BAS MEIN. Lyrics were by Wali Sahaab. There was another song of hers too: MORE ANGNA KAAG NAA BOLE in Padmini.

A movie called Chanda Ki Chandni was also released in 1948. It had these songs of Geeta Roy: ULFAT KE DARD KA KABHI MAZAA LO and OH JAADUGAR KAAHE .

Huwa Savera, also of 1948, had this Geeta Roy song: MORE MANN MEIN SAMAAYA HAI PYAAR. Music was by Gyan Dutt and lyrics were by Bhagwati Prasad Vajpayi. The song is sung with a rustic flavour. In this period Gyan Dutt sahab, whose muse Khursheed was no longer available used her talents extensively. Probably only Bulo C Rani used her talents more in this period though.

Geeta Roy has many other songs in 1948 which we are not discussing in details here. Some of them are:

In Meri Kahani she had a duet with Surendra: WAADA KARKE KISISE NA AANA. She also recorded RO RO KE SUNAATE for K.Datta in this movie. BULBUL KO MILA PHOOL was her other duet with Surendra in this film.

In Filmistan's Actress the music was composed by Shyam Sunder. Geeta Roy had two duet songs with Shamshad Begum: ANKHON ANKHON MEIN and O GORI TERI BANKA CHHAILA.

Another Geeta Roy- Shamshad Begum duet figured in Anjuman which was a Nargis Arts production starring Nargis. Music was by Bulo C. Rani. The song was: PYAARI TERA MERA MERA TERA PYAAR.

The pair of Geeta Roy and Shamshad Begum had another song to sing, this time in Suhag Raat (1948): MERE DIL KI DHADKANO MEIN SAKHI KAUN AA SAMAYA. It is said that Pandit Nehru was so impressed with a few lines of the song that he had called the lyricist-producer Kidar Sharma. The lines that had entranced Panditji were : Aankhon mein aankhain daal tune mujhko kya pilaaya, Jis taare par nazar padi wo tara ladkhadaya. This movie also had a lovely Geeta Roy and Rajkumar duet: BAAJE MORI PAAYAL THUNNAK THUNNAK. Geeta Roy duet with Rajkumari was: RUMJUHUM MATWAALE BAADAL CHHAA GAAYE. Snehal Bhatkar was the debutant music director for this film which was also the debut vehicle of the effervescent Geeta Bali for whom Geeta ji was to sing many gems later.

Chandralekha had NACHE GHODA BEECH BAZAR which was a duet song of Geeta Roy with an unknown male voice. Music was by S. Rajweshwar Rao. Although this movie had all other songs by Uma Devi, it was this song which caught the public's fancy.

Nirupa Roy was the heroine of the bi-lingual (Gujarati/Hindi) film Gunsundari and earned fame in this role. Geeta Roy recorded NANADIYA MAARE under the baton of Bulo C. Rani in this movie. (Geeta ji sang for the gujrati version too).

Another 1948 movie was Toote Taare for which Shaukat Dehelvi "Naashad" provided the music. Geeta Roy sang two duets with Mukesh: RAAJA MOHE LE CHAL TU DELHI KI SAIR KO and REHTE HO AB TO HAR GHADI. She also had a solo song NAZAR SE MILI HAI NAZAR PEHLE HO.. PEHLE PEHLE.

In Chand Sitare Geeta Roy sang the solo : AAJA MERE BAALMA KAISI SUHAANI RAAT HAI. Premnath was the music director.

Anjana was an early Bharat Bhushan film. The music was by D.C. Dutt. The song SOORAJ JAAGA DHARTI JAAGI and SAB NAGRI DHOONDH PHIRI NAINA NA PAAYE SANWARIYA were the duets of Geeta Dutt and Shankar Das Gupta in the movie.

Geeta Roy and G.M. Durrani were used by Hanuman Prasad in the year 1948, for the comedy song in Hip Hip Hurray: DUBEY JI KO PAKWAN MILA. Lyrics were written by Sahir Ludhianvi. There was another song of Geet Roy with Shamshad Begum and S. Balbir: JAWAANI HAMM GUZAAREN.

The film Aap Beeti had Pramila, who was the first Miss India (1947), as one of the star-cast. Haribhai Mistry as the music director took Geeta Roy and Rajkumari to sing: MORE SAIYAAN BHAYE KOTWAAL.

For Jeene Do, the music was composed by Shaukat Dehelvi who later became more popularly known as "Naashad". The movie had this beautiful Geeta Roy's song: SUN SUN RI BULBUL DEEWAANI.

The Rehana starrer, Khidki, had Geeta Roy singing along with Lata Mangeshkar and Chitalkar. This song was: TERE BINA SOONA SOONA. The music director of this P.L. Santoshi directed movie was of course C.Ramchandra himself.

To put it briefly, in 1948 she had recorded songs for such stalwarts music directors as Master Ghulam Haider, Hansraj Behl, Bulo C. Rani, Shyam Sundar, K.Datta, Shaukat Dehelvi or Naashad, Chitragupt, Khayyam, Gyan Dutt. S. Rajeshwar Rao, R.A. Painjankar, S.D. Batish, Aziz Khan, Mukund Masurekar, Hanuman Prasad, and C. Ramchandra. It is also important to note here that Geeta ji sang nearly 75 songs in her first two years as singer, a record which probably still holds today and is an indicator of her popularity during that period.

Coming to 1949, Geeta Roy had recorded a duet with Mukesh under the baton of Hansraj Behl for Raat Ki Raani (1949) which was a Shyam and Munawwar Sultana starrer, but the same song for some reason was re-recorded with the voices of Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar.

Geeta Roy recorded AAYA MERA SAJAN AAYA in Zevraat for Hansraj Behl.

Hansraj Behl was the music director in Chakori where Geeta Roy sang: NAINON MEIN JHOOLA DALAA KAJAL KI DOR KAA.

In 1949 there were several Rafi-Geeta duets:

One movie was Karvat which had music by Hansraj Behl and lyrics by S.K. Deepak. The song GAYAA ANDHERAA HUWAA SAVERAA JAAG UTHE INSAAN celebrates freedom from slavery and independence, and writing of new chapter. There's heavy beat of drums involved and the stanzas have variety of tunes. There are several voices also singing along with Mohammed Rafi and Geeta Roy.

Besides these, in Karvat we have a Geeta-Asha duet: O BAADAL GHIR AAYE. She has duet song with S.D. Batish and the song goes: MAIN ANGOOR KI BEL. A solo of Geeta Roy is: OH CHANDAA BAADAL MEIN MUKH LE CHHIPAA.

The movie, Naach, has a typical Husnlal-Bhagatram music beginning with a harmonium piece. The song KYOON KARTA MAAN JAWAANI KA TU EK BULBULAA PAANI KA has Geeta Roy singing along with Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. This is a philosophical song about the transitory nature of youth and life.

Another song in Naach again has Mohammed Rafi, Geeta Roy and Lata Mangeshkar. This is a sad song in which the stanzas are sung by Mohammed Rafi while the girls go on singing the 'Mukhda' LABB PE FARIYAAD HAI DIL BARBAAD HAI in refrain after every stanza.

Geeta Roy has another duet with Lata and chorus in Naach: CHAK CHAK CHALE HAMAARI RAIL YEH HAI AAG PAANI KA KHEL.

Hamari Manzil that was released in 1949 also had music by Husnlal-Bhagatram. In fact 1948-49 was their peak period. It was also Suraiya's best period under the musical duo. We have two songs of Mohammed Rafi and Geeta Roy with other male voices:

ANDHERE SE NAA DAR (KAANTE BANENGE KALIYAAN KAANTON SE KHELTA JA) penned by Rajinder Krishan. This philosophical song, which encourages us to face the vicissitudes of life, begins with Rafi Sahaab voice, followed by Geeta Roy and then other male voices.

BADLA HUWAA DUNYA MEIN ULFAT KA FASAANA HAI, penned by Qamar Jalalabadi. This is rendered by S.D. Batish, Geeta Roy, and Mohammed Rafi. This is a comedy song, satirising the modern Laila Majnu and Shireen Farhad: KYAA PYAAR KARE KOI RAASHAN KA ZAMAANA HAI, VOH AUR ZAMAANA THAAH YEH AUR ZAMAANA HAI.

There was a Geeta Roy's solo too: NAINON SE NAIN MILAAKE.

Bansuria was another Husnlal-Bhagatram's musical venture where Geeta Roy sang AAJA AAJA KE JIYA MORA TARAS GAYA.

Amar Kahani (1949) too had Husnlal Bhagatram as the music directors. Rajinder Krishan was the lyrics writer. Two songs of Geeta Roy stand out: YEH KAISI DILLAGI HAI and CHHOTI SI EK BAGIYAA MEIN which ends with a high note.

DO DIL JISKE PAAS SIPAHIYA in Sawan Bhadon and AREY JAANE WALE IDHAR DEKHTA JAA in Rakhi were some other songs that Geeta Roy sang under the baton of Husnlal Bhagatram.

Some of the other Geeta Roy songs of 1949 are:

In Veer Ghatotkach Geeta Roy sings PIYAA KAAHE DER LAGAAYE under the musical composition of S.N. Tripathi. Lyrics were by Moti.

In Jeet the music director was Shyam Babu Pathak and the lyricist was the multi-talented, Prem Dhawan. Geeta Roy had this song SUNO SUNO BANWAARI MORI lip-synched by legendary actress Durga Khote. She also sang a duet with Vinod, "KAAM KARO BHAI KAAM KARO JAG MEIN APNA NAAM KARO", a tandem of the Suraiyya solo.

JIYA KA DIYA PIYA TIM TIM HOWE was a duet song of Geeta Roy with Shamshad Begum in Sunhere Din which had music by Gyan Dutt. The same movie had her song with Sulochna Kadam: UMANGON KE DIN

Darogaji was produced by Jaddan Bai, the mother of Nargis. Bulo C. Rani composed as many as 12 songs for Geeta Roy. A couple of her songs were: LE JA LE JA LE JA BABU YEH MERI NISHANI and MORI TUJH SE ULAJH GAYI ANKHIYAAN. Nargis was among the top class heroines who's career was rising very fast. Jaddan Bai was a big name then. Selection of Geeta Roy for all the home production's songs, ten of which were filmed on Nargis, amply demonstrates the abundant capability, popularity and the trust that this female playback singer enjoyed among the film fraternity while she was still in her teens.

Sipahiya (1949) starred Madhubala and with her was Amirbai Karnataki who, as we know was also a playback singer of repute. There was a song of Geeta Roy there which she sang with Lata Mangeshkar. That song was: CHALO GHUNGHAT MEIN GUIYAAN CHHUPA KE. C. Ramchandra was the music director.

Roshni had C.Ramchandra as the music director and PEHAN CHUNARIYA KAALI was a duet of Geeta Roy which she sang with him who was also known as Chitalkar.

Kaneez (1949) had three music directors: Ghulam Haider, Hansraj Behl and O.P. Nayyar. The last-named had only been introduced here and was responsible for the background score. JIYA MORA HAALE DOLE HO was Geeta Roy's song filmed on the buxom Kuldip Kaur in Kaneez. Another delightful song was PAAKE NAZARON KA ISHAARAA.

Ghulam Mohammed provided music for Dil Ki Basti. She had the following songs:




KOI PUKARE PIYA PIYA in Paras where Ghulam Mohammed was the music director.

In Nazare, Bulo C. Rani was the composer. Geeta Roy sang two songs: MERE MAN MEIN DOL and MILTE HO USIKO with G.M. Durrani. She sang two more songs with G.M. Durrani in the same movie but was accompanied by Shamshad Begum: DUNIYA KI ANDHERI RAAT MEIN and BAHAR AAYI CHAMAN.

In Bhul Bhulaiyan, Geeta sang AKHIYON SE NEEND CHURAAKE for Bulo C. Rani.

MERI KASHTI KO MUHABBAT KA KINAARA MIL GAYA was her song in Kamal which had music by S.D. Burman once again. A duet of hers with Surendra was KEHNE KO HAIN TAYYAR.

S.D. Burman again took Geeta Roy for the famous Dilip-Kamini starrer, Shabnam. Her solo sound-track song was MERA DIL TADPA KE KAHAAN CHALAA. A duet version with Shamshad Begum of this superhit song also featured in the film. She also sang a duet with Mukesh: QISMAT MEIN BICHHADNA THA. Shabnam happened to be S.D. Burman's most successful movie by then.

In 1949 Geeta Roy sang along with manna dey for the first time for movie called Ram Vivah. The song was: DHANYA DHANYA HEY AVADHPURI. Music was composed by Shankarrao Vyas,

Not that Geeta Roy did not sing under the baton of Naushad in the Nineteen Forties. She did so for the movie called Dillagi (1949). One of the most popular songs in the movie was the Suraiya - Shyam duet: TUU MERA CHAAND MAIN TERI CHAANDNI. Not many are aware that there is a shorter tandem version too of this song which was rendered by Geeta Roy for the supporting actress Shyama. However, no records were cut for this number. The only other song that she has sung for him is in Mehboob Khan's Son of India (1962): Mujhe Huzoor Tumse Pyaar Hai. It is interesting to note that this Geeta Roy's voice was used in Portugal for a TV ad on "ZAPP" which is a wireless internet company. Evidently, when the Portuguese gave up Goa in 1961 they had not forgotten Geeta Roy-Dutt and her sweet voice.

Geeta Roy is credited with close to 1500 songs, including some in the regional languages such as Bangla, Gujarati, and Punjabi. We already noted her songs she sang between 1946 and 1949. To recapitulate besides her solos she sang the following number of songs with her main co-singers in the Forties and the next decades:

With Mohammed Rafi: 9 songs in the Forties out of the total 162 songs with him.

With G.M. Durrani: 12 songs in the Forties out of the total 33 songs with him.

With Lata Mangeshkar: 9 songs in the Forties out of the total 37 songs with her that include some trios featuring Mohammed Rafi or Hemant Kumar and others.

With Shamshad Begum: 11 songs in the Forties out of the total 20 songs with her.

With Rajkumari: 9 songs in the Forties out of the total 10 songs with her.

With Zohrabai Ambalewali: 2 songs in the Forties out of the 5 songs with her.

With Mukesh: 6 songs in the Forties out of about 19 songs with him. The four Gujarati songs don't figure in this list.

With Asha Bhonsle: 2 songs in the Forties out of 35 songs with her.

With Manna Dey: 1 song in the Forties out of 26 songs with him besides 5 regional songs.

With S.D. Batish: 3 songs in the Forties out of 6 songs, one being an unreleased number.

With Sulochna Kadam: 4 songs in the Forties out of the 7 with her.

With Khayyam: 3 songs in the Forties only.

With Binapani Mukherjee: 2 songs in the Forties and 1 in 1950 only.

With Hamida Banu: 1 song in the Forties out of only 4 songs with her.

With Chitalkar: 6 songs in the Forties out of some 9 songs with him.

With Shankar Das Gupta: 2 in the Forties out of 8 songs with him, including one with Arun Kumar and one with Yashodhara.

With Surendra: 3 in the Forties out of the total 5 songs with him.

There are no songs in Forties of her other co-singers who sang duets with her only from the beginning of the Fifties. They are Talat Mehmood (26 songs plus one non-filmy); Hemant Kumar (31 or 32 songs and 3 Bengali songs); Kishore Kumar (13 songs plus two Bengali songs); Suman Kalyanpur (6 songs): Mahendra Kapoor (12 songs plus two Bhojpuri numbers); Mubarak Begum (just 1 song); Suraiya (just 1 song); Sudha Malhotra (7 songs);Meena Kapoor (5 songs and 1 non-filmi); Krishna Goyal (5 songs); Khan Mastana (2 songs); S. Balbir (10 songs that include other singers as well); and Nutan (1 song).

The list is not exhaustive. Neither is it meant to be. It must be mentioned here that earlier, the names of the playback singers were not even mentioned on the gramophone records. Only the names of the characters that lip-synched the songs used to be mentioned. There were also the cases when the name of just one playback singer was mentioned despite the fact that the song was a duet, and so on. Additionally, the old records were destroyed to make way for the new ones and the selection in this was quite arbitrary or even haphazard. Thus a margin of error, on the lesser side, is more than possible in attributing the total number of songs to any playback singers who began their singing career in the Nineteen Forties.

During her singing career, Geeta Roy gave her voice and emotions to many eminent lyricists of the film industry. These include: Akhtar Romani, Ali Sardar Zafari, Anjaan, Anjum Jaipuri, Anjum Pilibhiti, Arzoo Lucknowi,Asad Bhopali, Avinash Vyas,Azeez Kashmiri, B D Mishra, B M Sharma, B P Bhargav, B R Sharma, Balwant Kapoor, Bandhu, Bekal Amrutsari, Bhagwati Prasad Vajpaye, Bharat Vyas, Bismil Peshwari, D N Madhok, Devendra, Farooque Qaiser, Feroze Jallandari, G S Nepali, G S Potdaar, Ghaafil Harnalvhi, Gulshan Bawra, Gulzar, Hairat Sitapuri, Hamid Hydrabadi, Harsh, Hasrat Jaipuri, Hasrat Lucknavi, Himmat Rai Sharma, I C Kapoor, Indeevar, J Abhayankar, Jaidev, Jan Nisar Akhtar, K L Pardesi, K Manohar, K Razdan, Kaif Irfani, Kaifi Azmi, Kameel Rasheed, Kapil Kumar, Kavi Pradeep, Kedar Sharma, Khalish Lucknowi, Khawar Jamaan, Khumar Barambkavi, Kuldeep Singh Chand, M A Taj, M L Khanna, Madhukar Rajasthani, Madhusudan Bhagalpuri, Mahendra Pran, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Manmohan Sabeer, Manohar Khanna, Meerabai, Moti B A, Mulk Raj Bhakri, Munishi Sham, Munshi Sagar Hussain, Nakshab Jarachavi, Narendra Sharma, Nawaz, Nazeem Panipati, Neelkant Tiwari, Noor Devasi, Nyay Sharma, Om Prakash, P L Santoshi, Praful Desai, Pratap, Prem Dhawan, Premi, Pt Gaafil, Pt Indra, Pt Madhur, Pt Mukhram Sharma, Qamar Jalalabadi, R C Pandey, Rafiq, Raja Mehndi Ali Khan, Rajendra Krishan, Rajesh Kumar, Ram Moorthy, Ramesh Gupta, Ramesh Pandey, Ramesh Shastri, Randheer, S Raazi-ud-Din, S H Bihari, S K Deepak, S P Kalla, S R Saj, S Ratan, S. Kashyap, Saajan Bihari, Saba Afghani, Safdar Aah Sitapuri, Sagar Badayuni, Sahir Ludhianvi, Sajan Bihari, Saliq Lakhnavi, Shailendra, Shaili Shailendra, Shakeel Badayuni, Shakeel Nomani, Shams Azeemabaadi, Sharshar Sailani, Shewan Rizvi, Shola Kahaamavi, Shyam Hindi, Surdas, Suresh Tripathi, Taaba Jhansvi, Tajdar Taj, Tanvir Naqvi, Tejnath Jhar, Uddhav Kumar, Verma Malik, Vidyapati, Vinay Kumar, Vishwamitra Adil, Vrajendra Goud, Waheed Qureshi, Wali Sahab, Yogesh Gaud, Zia Sarhadi

Naturally, when Geeta Roy put life into the lyrics of so many eminent lyricists, her list of music directors is equally long or longer too. Included among these melody makers are: Amal Mukherjee, Anal Chattopadhyay, Anil Bagchi, A R Qureshi, Ali Akbar Khan, Aadil – Ahmed, Amal Mukherjee, Anil Biswas, Arunkumar Mukherjee, Avinash Vyas, Aziz khan,B N Bali, B S Kalla, Basant Prakash, Bhola Shrestha, Binod Chattopadhyay, Bipin Babul, Bipin Dutta, Bulo C Rani, C Arjun, C Ramachandra, Chick Chocklet (A.X. Vaz), Chitragupt, Daan Singh, Datta Davjekar, Dattaram Gadekar, Datta Korgaonkar (K Dutta), Dattaram, Devraj, Dhaniram, D Dileep (Dileep Dholakia), D C Dutt, E.Shankar Shastri & B. S. Kalla, G K Venkatesh, G N Joshi, G S Kohli, Ganpat Rao, Ghantasala, Ghulam Haider, Ghulam Mohammed, Gunjan (G M Durrani), Gyan Dutt, Hafeez Khan, Hansraj Behl,Hanuman Prasad, Hemant kumar, Hiren Bose, Husnalal Bhagatram, Inayat Ali, Iqbal, Iqbal Qureshi, Jagmohan "Sursaagar," Jag phool kaushik, Jaidev, Jamal Sen, Jimmy, Kalyanji Anandji, Kanu Ghosh, Kanu Roy, Khaiyyam, Khemchand Prakash, Khurshid Anwar, Krishna Dayal, Kumar, Lachhiram Tamar, M A Rouf, Madan Mohan, Manna Dey, Manohar, Mohan Sharma, Mukul Roy, Nachiketa Ghosh, Narayan, N Dutta, Naashad "Shaukat Dehelvi," Naushad Ali, Neenu Majumdar, Nikhil Ghosh, Nirmal Chakraborty, Nissar Bazmi, O P Nayyar, P Nageshwar rao, Pandit Govindram, Pandit Harbanslal, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pankaj Mullik, Pardesi, Premnath, R Sudarshanam (with Dhaniram), Rajhans, Ram Ganguly, Ram Prasad, Ramesh Naidu, Ratnadeep Hemaraj, Ravi, Robin Banerjee, Robin Chatterjee, Roshan Lal, S D Batish, S D Burman, S K Pal, S Madan, S Mohinder, S N Tripathi, S Rajeshwara Rao, Sailesh Mukherjee, Sajjad Husain, Salil Choudhary, Sanmukh Babu, Sardar Malik, Sardul Kwatra, Shankar Jaikishen, Shankar Lal, Sharmaji Vermaji [khaiyyaam and rahman verma] Shivram Krishna, Shyam Babu Pathak, Shyam Sunder, Shyam Sharma, Snehal Bhatkar (B Vasudev), Sonik, Subir Sen, Sudipta, Sudhin Dasgupta, Sudhirlal Chakraborty, Suhrid Kar, Suresh Talwar, Sushant Banerjee, Swapan Jagmohan, Timir Baran and S K Pal, Usha Khanna, V. Balsara, Vasant Desai, Vasant Ramchandra, Vinod, Vishwanathan-Ramamurthy, and Zafar khursheed.

Leaving the matter to the expert statisticians and annotationists as far as the names of all the lyricists and music directors and the total number of songs of Geeta Roy are concerned, but nevertheless, by looking at the above lists of the artistes, it becomes abundantly manifest that Geeta Roy emerges as one of the greatest female playback singers of Bollywood.

We can imagine the impact of Geeta Roy on the music lovers during 1946-1949 and right up to our own days. Let's dwell on just one of the songs of Geeta Roy in Do Bhai. One thing is certain! Just as the lone novel, Wurthering Heights, has ensured Emile Bronte's name for ever in the Hall of Fame of literary geniuses, similarly Geeta Roy's songs in Do Bhai are enough to perpetuate the memory of her singing genius and ensuring her name among the great playback singers of the sub-continent of India and Pakistan and elsewhere. Only the most hardened hearts would remain unmoved by her rendition of MERAA SUNDAR SAPNA BEET GAYAA. It was simply amazing to find such pathos, such sweetness, such emotions in a young girl of sixteen years. It is rendered in the style of someone who has been weeping and crying and while suppressing the rising pain of the heart she has been made to sing and announce to the world her sad tale of woes and suffering. What makes the song more poignant is that it sounds as if Geeta Roy with all her tragic emotions is predicting about herself: MERI PREM KAHAANI KHATM HOYEE MERE JEEVAN KA SANGEET GAYAA..., AANKHEN ASUWAN MEIN DOOB GAYEEN HANSNE KA ZAMAANAA BEET GAYAA..... IS JEEVAN KO AB AAG LAGE..MUJHE CHHOD KE JEEVAN MEETH GAYAA...MAIN PREM MEIN SAB KUCHH HAAR GAYEE...BEDARD ZAMAANA JEET GAYA.... MERA SUNDAR SAPNA BEET GAAYA. Sigh! Listen to how she renders various lines of the song, stressing on the E syllables. If one takes into consideration the raw youth of Geeta Roy and her unrestrained melody and pathos, it appears to me that this song is more powerful than the one she was to sing a decade later under the same music director in Pyaasa (1957): AAJ SAJAN MOHE ANG LAGAA LO...or WAQT NE KIYAA KYAA HASEEN SITAM in Kaaghaz Ke Phool (1959). It's no wonder then that S.D. Burman gave her six of the nine songs to sing for Do Bhai. As early as 1947, she had more than fulfilled the criteria that came to be set up later by Anil Biswas for an attractive voice, namely, clarity, "huskiness, sex and bass". The "Bangal Ka Jadoo" had arrived! Little wonder then, that Asha Bhonsle was greatly influenced by the sex appeal in Geeta Roy's voice, and it is this voice she made the most of and which became her identity in later part of her career once she came out of the shadows of Lata Mangeshkar. No doubt, the amazing renditions zoomed Geeta Roy's career. The sterling fact also remains that after Do Bhai S.D. Burman too never looked back – thanks to his conviction and choice of Geeta Roy for the movie.

During her early career, Geeta Roy was one female who faced the stiffest competition in the field of playback singing. Imagine the ruling queeen Noor Jahan on one hand. Then take the chocolate charmer Suraiya on the other. Then the established female singers such as Parul Ghosh, Lalita Dewulkar, Amirbai Karnataki, Zohrabai Ambalewali, Shamshad Begum to name just a few. At that juncture, Lata Mangeshkar could not be even conceived as a competition at all what with her rejections at recording studios for "shrill" voice. The Filmistan that had rejected Lata Mangeshkar in Shaheed (1948) could not reject Geeta Roy after striking a deal with S.D. Burman that they would retain her only after hearing the result of her recorded song. The song was HAMEIN CHHOD PIYA KIS DESH GAYE. She got six out of the nine songs in Do Bhai as we saw earlier. Certainly she had not much of a musical training as others to boast of. What was her forte? Geeta's was the most original singing voice. Besides, she made no efforts to adapt her style of singing to the established icons such as Noor Jahan as Lata Mangeshkar did. Nor even to the celebrated "Roy“ Jhutika Roy, known as the "Modern Meera".

Unfortunately, Geeta Roy came to be slotted as the singer of weepy songs and Bhajans for no fault of her own. This was reinforced by her songs in Jogan (1950) which was a high-profile movie starring Dilip Kumar and Nargis and which had an unusual love story ever. Geeta Roy had such haunting songs as MAT JA MAT JA JOGI; AY RI MAIN TOH PREM DIWAANI; and GHUNGAT KE PATT KHOL RE, among others that were filmed on Nargis. These were the hot favourites on the ubiquitous radio and I distinctly remember hearing them time and again as a child in the Fifties and it's from those memories only that I could muster courage to write about Geeta.

Surely, the seriousness and melancholy were there in Geeta Roy even when she had stepped into her teens. One would easily distinguish them if one were to peep into her solemn eyes. These came to be reflected in her songs. But her heart concealed the surging tides of youth and ebullience and these too are found in abundance in her songs. So when things settled down in the Fifties, Geeta Roy was to prove to the world how bubbly, how naughty, how sexy and cool her voice could be! This is what O.P. Nayyar made the most of her voice in his lilting numbers in the Fifties.

She was adept in all genres and with her flair for picking up languages, she glided through from the Bangla or Gujarati or any regional languages to the Urdu-Hindi lyrics or even the Braj Bhasha with ease. But she used Bengali script for those songs as proved by her numerous booklets. The best thing was that she was confident enough of her own abilities as the singer and never caused any obstructions in the career of her rivals and competitors. She was one of the very few film personalities or singers who never indulged in petty politics. She was friendly and got along well with everyone around.

The Nineteen Forties were her most prolific period considering the average of the total number of her songs divided by the number of years. Here was a new star on the singing horizon. The tragedy of Geeta Dutt, her early death, her beautiful looks as well as her humility have all combined together to make her songs immortal for the generations to come. To think of it, Geeta Dutt could have been a numero uno female playback singer. However, the fate conspired to cheat Geeta Roy from attaining that position. How that happened, is the subject-matter of the decades following the Nineteen Forties.

Geetaji, you sang MUJHE JAA.N NA KAHO MEREE JAA.N....(Anubhav - 1971) Who wouldn't call you "Jaan" after hearing you? You are the darling of the nation, nay the whole world! As we are celebrating your birth anniversary, our hearts feel heavy and dull at the thought of your physical absence. But we do know that spiritually you are present through your songs among the millions of your fans all over the globe for all times to come!

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