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Geeta Dutt
Birth name Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri
Born November 23, 1930(1930-11-23)
Origin Faridpur, Bangladesh
Died July 20, 1972 (aged 41)
Genres playback singing
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocalist
Years active 1946–1971

Geetā Dutt (Bengali: গীতা দত্ত, born Geetā Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri) (23 November 1930 – 20 July 1972) was a prominent Indian playback singer in Hindi movies in the 1950s and 60s, and also a singer of modern Bengali songs.


Early life

Geeta Dutt was born in 1930 into a rich zamindār's family as Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri in Faridpur, (then in Bengal, India; now in Banglādesh). In 1942, her parents shifted to an apartment in Dādar, Bombay (now Mumbai) when she was twelve. There, composer/music director Hanumān Prasād once overheard her singing casually, and, feeling impressed, he offered to impart her training in singing. He launched her in a chorus song in Bhakta Prahlād (1946), where she sang only two lines. But her rendering of those two lines stood out. The following year, she got a major assignment as a playback singer for Do Bhāi, and her renderings in that movie brought Geeta to the forefront as a top playback singer.[1]


Initially, Geeta was a singer known for singing bhajans and sad songs, but her renderings of composer S. D. Burman's jazzy musical scores in Bāzi in 1951 demonstrated a new facet of Geeta's singing[2]: The sexiness in her voice and her easy adaptation to "western" tunes. From then on in the 1950s, Geeta was people's first choice for singing seductive songs and providing song accompaniments in dance clubs.

S.D. Burman recognized the magic in Geeta's voice through her songs in "Do Bhāi". He effectively used the Bengali lilt in her voice in movies like Devdās (1955) and Pyāsā (1957). The song "Aaj Saajan Mohe Ang Lagaa Lo" in "Pyasa" is a prime example of a Bengali keertan being presented in its Hindi version.

Under composer O.P. Nayyar's direction, Geeta further developed into a singer who could sing almost any kind of song, be it soft, snappy, teasing, or sad[3]. She, Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar were the premier female playback singers in the 1950s.

According to some estimates she has sung for around 100 composers during her career! [4 ].

The third composer who gave her many hit songs was Hemant Kumar. Some other popular composers for whom she sang were Shanker-Jaikishen, Chitragupt, Bulo C Rani, Hansraj Behl, Husnlal-Bhagatram and Madan Mohan.[5]

Personal life

During Geeta's recording of songs for the movie Baazi, she met the movie's young and upcoming director, Guru Dutt. Their romance culminated in marriage on 26 May 1953. Geeta went on to sing some of her best songs in his movies while continuing to sing in various other assignments as well.

Geeta and Guru Dutt had three children: Tarun (b. 1954), Arun (b. 1956), and Ninā (b. 1962).

In 1957, Guru Dutt launched a movie, "Gauri",' with Geeta as its singing star. It was to be India's first movie in Cinemascope, but the project was shelved after only a few days of shooting. By then, their marriage was on the rocks, Guru Dutt had got romantically involved with Waheedā Rehmān, and Geeta had taken to drinking. The breakup of their marriage affected Geeta's singing career.

In 1958, S.D. Burman had developed discord with Lata Mangeshkar as a playback singer, and he attempted to work with Geeta as the main singer of his compositions rather than the upcoming Asha Bhosle, who, he felt, was relatively raw. However, out of her personal problems, Geeta would not practice her art sufficiently, and failed to meet Burman's demanding standards. (He, and O.P. Nayyar too, then started to work with Asha and helped her blossom as a singer.)

In 1964, Guru Dutt died from a combination of alcohol and an overdose of sleeping pills. (His death was widely perceived as a suicide following two earlier attempts[6].) Geeta then suffered a serious nervous breakdown, and also ran into financial problems. She tried to resume her singing career, cutting discs at Durgā Pujā, and giving stage shows. She also performed in a leading role in a Bengali movie, Bhadu Bharan (1967), and sang admirably for a movie, Anubhav (1971), which turned out to her final performance to the music of Kanu Roy.

Geeta died of cirrhosis of the liver on 20 July 1972.

A list of notable songs

She is supposed to have sung over 1200 songs in Hindi films. In addition she has also sung songs in many Indian regional languages including Marathi, Bengali, Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri and Punjabi.[4 ].

Some of the memorable songs sung under S.D. Burman's direction [7]:

  • 'Mera sundar sapna beet gaya' (Do Bhai - 1947 )
  • 'Woh sapnewaali raat' (Pyaar - 1950 )
  • 'Tadbir se bigdi hui taqdeer' (Baazi - 1951 )
  • 'Aan milo aan milo' (Devdas - 1955 ) with Manna Dey
  • 'Aaj sajan mohe ang lagalo' (Pyaasa - 1957 )
  • 'Hum Aapke Aankhon Main' (Pyaasa - 1957 )
  • 'Hawa dhire aana' (Sujata - 1959 )
  • 'Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam ' (Kaagaz Ke Phool - 1959 )

Some of the memorable songs sung under O.P. Nayyar's direction [8]:

  • 'Zara saamne aa' (Baaz - 1953 )
  • 'Babuji dhire chalna' (Aar Paar - 1954 )
  • 'Thandi hawa kali ghata' (Mr. & Mrs. '55 - 1955 )
  • 'Jab badal lehraya' (Chchoomantar - 1956 )
  • 'Mere zindagi ke humsafar' (Shrimati 420 - 1956 )
  • 'Jaata kahan hai' (C.I.D. - 1956)
  • 'Aye Dil Hain Mushkil' (aka 'Bombay Meri Jaan' - C.I.D. - 1956), with Mohammed Rafi
  • 'Chor, lutere, daku'( Ustad - 1957 )
  • 'Mera naam chin chin choo' (Howrah Bridge - 1958 )
  • 'Kaisa jadoo balam tune dara' (12 o'clock - 1958 )

Some of the memorable songs sung under Hemant Kumar's direction [9]


  • Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho Mer Jaan (Anubhav - 1971) Music: Kanu Roy

Some memorable Bengali songs [10]:

  • 'Shachimata go char juge hai' (1950)
  • 'Ekhan-o dustar lajja' (1952)
  • 'Ei Sundar Swarnali Sandhyay' (Hospital, 1960; Music: Amal Mukherjee)
  • 'Katha achhe tumi aj asbe (Kanu Ghosh 1960)
  • 'Ei Mayabi Tithi' (Shonar Horin, 1959; Music: Hemant Mukherjee)
  • 'Tumi Je Amar' [11] (Harano Sur, 1958; Music: Hemant Kumar)
  • 'Nishiraat Banka Chand Aakashe' (Prithibi Aamare Chaay, 1957; Music: Nachiketa Ghosh)
  • 'Jhanak Jhanak Kanak Kankan baaje'


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