A book on Geeta Roy Dutt initially posed a set of problems. With the general paucity of written materials, songs and the films, the 'problems' aggravated due to misconceptions about Geeta like she sang only a couple of hundred songs and that too mostly for Guru Dutt films. Also, SD Burman and OP Nayyar were a couple of composers only, for whom Geeta rendered her memorabilia. Her personal life story in relation to Guru Dutt, OP, Waheeda and Asha or her later day drinking, provided fodder for perpetual curiosity. The sum total of all these notions, resulted into a general ennui towards understanding the "art" that she mastered so faultlessly. Thus this book primarily deals with Geeta Roy Dutt as a singer and as a playback artist.
The initial research for this book, sure enough commenced with Harminder Singh "Hamraaze's" magnum opus on Hindi film songs: Geet Kosh. Those half a dozen indispensable volumes gradually cleared the cobweb of unfounded comments. To start with, Geet Kosh established frrm1y that instead of a couple of hundred songs, Geeta Roy Dutt sang around one thousand and three hundred songs for Hindi films ONLY. Her regional language film and 'private' songs, added to more than a couple of thousands. However, the present book concentrates upon her Hindi film songs only.
In the same token, Harminder's work helped in arriving at the conclusion that not merely for SD and OP did Geeta intone her beauties, in fact, she was a vocal favourite of all the stalwart music composers of her time, just as the lyricists with their golden quills, created wonders for her. The composers, to name a few, were Ghulam Hyder, Khemchandra Prakash, Ghulam Mohammad, Shyam Sunder, Anil Biswas, Husnlal Bhagatram, Hans Raj Behl, Roshan, Avinash Vyas, Khursheed Anwar, Madan Mohan, S. N. Tripathi, C. Ramchandra, Vasant Desai, Bulo C. Rani, Sajjat Husain, Hemant Mukherjee, N. Dutta, Salil Chaudhary ....
The quill masters ranged from Wali Saheb right in the beginning of her journey to Raja Mehndi Ali Khan, D. N. Madhok, Prem Dhavan, Hasrat Jaipuri Rajinder, Krishan, Shailendra, Jan Nissar Akhtar, Kidar Sharma, H. S. Bihari, Pradeep, Bharat Vyas ... However, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Sahir Ludhianvi dominated the show of Geeta-lyricists repertoire for more than a decade.
Was Geeta the vocal alter ego of Waheeda only? Better check your dossier? Ms. Rahman surfaced only in 1956-57, the years when Geeta was completing her decade in flying colours. In between and later, came from her the chart busting countless cadences for Kamini Kaushal, Rehana, Munnawar Sultana, Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Nirupa Roy, Nutan, Tanuja, Shakila, Shyama, Anita, Padmini, Ragini, Bhanumathi, Anita Guha, Nalini Jaywant, Simriti Biswas and Helen. But the creme de creme of the list were reserved for the stunning Nargis and bubbly Geeta Bali, ranging from Mat j a, mat j a jogi to Tadbeer se bigdi hui, taqdeer bana le ....
Thus like natural scheme of things, this book slowly shaped itself up into a 'compendium' Of large number of personalities who sought out Geeta Roy for her evergreen voice. Who were they, what kind of artists were they? What Geeta did for them, and what did they do for Geeta? It was a symbiotic relationship. A relationship whereby the 'playback singer 'owes his/her existence through a complex rapport with dozens of artists in the repertoire, including the Arrangers, the Recordists and the Instrumentalists.
The painstaking search for Geeta's "Audio" dossier turned the book into an audio compendium. But a book willy-nilly is a 'visual' document! It is more so if the protagonist happens to be from the tinsel town. As mentioned in the Acknowledgement, Geeta's son, Arun Dutt has persevered for years to build up his mother's pictorial presence, mainly by persuading the Kamath Photo Studio, Bombay.
Those innumerable photographs eventually enlivened the audio book with the pictorial life story of the doe-eyed legend, thus telling the fairy-tale of the teen age girl, the beautiful woman, celebrity singer, the wife, the radiant mother and even the devastated individual. Barring a long and informative interview with her elder brother, Sri Mukul Roy and intermittent discussions with Arun Dutt, the book steered c1earofany 'other' oral narration of Geeta Dutt's life and songs. Thus this visual document is the primary source of Geeta-nama.
An unexpected secondary source filled up many empty spaces in Geeta's personal saga. Arun Dutt's gift of an enormous bunch of fifty letters from Guru to Geeta between 1952 and 62 sketched with bold strokes many unknown personality traits in her. Those intimate letters mirrored the black and white and the gray tones in the intricacies of a legendary romance between the two ego-centric and passionate lovers, husband and wife and creative artists. This book being on Geeta's "art", one could not have asked for more on her personal history. And finally the book emerged as it is now. Prologue, as mentioned earlier, throws a quick glance at the advent of 'sound' with Alam Ara in relation to Geeta's arrival on the sound-song scene in 1946. Starting right from 1947, Part One explores step by step, year by year, the teen age crooner's meteoric rise in less than three years. Bang in 1950, she reached the peak when her chords emitted a full dozen memorabilia for Nargis in logan. Part Two logically picks up the thread from 1951 onwards with a sensation called: Baazi. The next five years were a hectic and hullaballu of more and more exquisite cadences, Geeta-Guru sensational romance, marriage and one offspring. This too was the phase when Geeta ushered OP Nayyar from anonymity to the centre stage. The longest Part Three spreads across almost a decade. And there it started going all wrong. The festivity of romance waned before it ripened. The legendary singer ended up losing enormously: OP, SD and finally GD. And yet the born vocal marvel went ahead with aplomb from strength to strength and also gave birth to two bony babies. The short Epilogue covers a little less than a decade ti1l1972. Singing with a divine touch in her vocals, Geeta presented many, many bouquets to her discerning listeners, ending with her parting bonanza: Mujhe jaan kaho meri jaan, meri jaan ...
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