MELODY QUEEN: Geeta Dutt


by ASJAD NAZIR

THIS month marks the birth anniversary of late great music icon Geeta Dutt, who was born on November 23, 1930.

Although her life was marked by tragedy and she died young at the age of 41, the legendary playback singer delivered many memorable hits that remain popular today. To mark the birth anniversary of the superb Bengali singing star, Eastern Eye took on the impossible task of selecting 10 of her greatest songs.

Tadbir Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer from Baazi(1951): This top track became such a rage it turned the movie into a blockbuster and her namesake Geeta Bali, who it was picturised on, into a huge star. This would become one of many songs were she sang in a scene where the woman was very much in control.

Babuji Dheere Chalna from Aar Paar (1954): Bollywood is famous for cabaret songs and this Geeta Dutt classic ranks right up there with the best. The OP Nayyar composed track has lyrics that offer up a subtle warning with music that is so catchy that it remains in your head long after you listen to it.

Jaane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaya Ji from Mr & Mrs 55 (1955): Although the singer was brilliant with upbeat and deeply emotional songs, she was equally good at playful numbers. The smile-inducing duet with Mohammed Rafi sees a great interplay with a couple, who are gifting one another with fun lyrics and flirting.

Jaata Kahan Hai from CID (1956): This is another feel-good playful number that combines fun lyrics with what is essentially a woman taking control and doing some light flirting. For that era, songs such as this were ahead of their time and Geeta was an expert at delivering them.

Aye Dil Mujhe Bata De from Bhai Bhai (1956): There have been countless songs in Bollywood where the protagonist sings alone about falling in love and this is one of the finest. The female protagonist speaks to her heart in a song that is relatable to anyone who has ever felt the joy of falling in love.

Jane Kya Tune Kahi from Pyaasa (1957): The lovely number offered some light relief in the emotionally demanding classic. The flirtatious song picturised on Waheeda Rehman sees the protagonist signal her intention and works well.

Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu from Howrah Bridge (1958): One of Geeta’s most popular songs, it became a rage when it released and was an early Bollywood item number, which was a massive success. The lyrics may not make sense, but the seriously catchy music and magnificent vocals more than make up for that.

Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam from Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959): This heartbreak song has raw emotion injected into it by Geeta Dutt and revolves around people changing with time. The song was especially bittersweet because her marriage was falling apart in real life, largely due to the onscreen lead pair of the movie, her husband Guru Dutt and leading lady Waheeda Rehman.

Chale Aao Chale Aao from Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962): A song that featured in one of the greatest Bollywood films ever made was about yearning. The combination of music director Hemant Kumar and singer Geeta Dutt shows that less can be more with this haunting classic.

Meri Jaan Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho from Anubhav (1972): By the time this last film came out, Geeta was heartbroken, seriously ill and in financial trouble, but the ability to inject emotions into songs was still there. She conveyed the Gulzar lyrics in the atmospheric song composed by Kanu Roy. Sadly, she would pass away the same year aged just 41.