Geeta Dutt was probably the most successful playback singer of bollywood films after Lata Mangeshkar in the 50s and 60s. She had sung for all the leading singers of the period including Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Wahida Rehman and others.
Geeta Dutt was extremely successful in Bengali films as well. Her song “tumi je amar” sung in the film Harano Sur for Suchitra Sen became the greatest hit of the 50s. The song was played in Uttam Kumar’s film Harano Sur a number of times by the director Ajoy Kar and was used to bring back the memory of Uttam Kumar who lost it in an accident.
Geeta Dutt’s songs “ogo shundara”, “jhanak jhanak madhur badhon baaje” and “nir choto khoti nei” composed by Nochiketa Ghosh and picturised on Suchitra Sen in the film Indrani stormed the bollywood viewers in 1958. The film became super hit and songs became timeless hits.
Suchitra Sen and Geeta Dutt combination again struck gold in the film Hospital. The song “ei shundor sharnali shondhay” became super hit in the film. Very Geeta Dutt suited Suchitra Sen as well as Sandhya Mukherjee’s voice. Both Geeta Dutt and Sandhya Mukherjee used to be considered the most popular singers of the golden age, the 50s and 60s.
Geeta Dutt’s other hit songs in Bengali films include “amar duti chokhe” and “ei mayabi tithi” sung in Uttam Kumar’s film Sonar Horin. The songs were picturised on the actress Namita Sinha. Geeta Dutt’s song “kacher chirir chotay” composed by Sudhin Dasgupta and picturised on Sabitri Chatterji became super hit in 1958. It was song in Agragami’s epic film Dakharkara where Kali Banerjee played the role of his life.
Geeta Dutt sang many memorable hit songs for Mala Sinha in Bengali films. One of such songs included “nishi raat banka chaand akashe” in Uttam Kumar’s film Prithibi Amare Chay. The other song include “banshi bujhi shei sure aar baajbe na” sung in the film Sathi Hara with Mala Sinha and Uttam Kumar.
The other films where Geeta Dutt made significant contribution included Lukochuri, Modhyorater Tara, etc. Geeta Dutt’s songs should be preserved and restored.
Rafi became a living legend in the mid-50s after dominating bollywood films over ten years and singing for nearly all the giant productions and leading actors of bollywood. He had very strong combination with thinking actor Guru Dutt.
Guru Dutt had created his image in bollywood films in different categories being a thoughtful director and producer, dynamic actor, good choreographer. One of the numerous reasons for which his films became super hit in the 50s and 60s include the brilliant songs sung by Rafi during the golden age.
Rafi’s songs in Guru Dutt’s Aar Paar, composed by OP Nayyar became super hit. It was followed by Mr and Mrs. 55 released in 1955. Songs picturized on both Guru Dutt and Johnny Walker had melody and sweetness. Rafi’s songs like “dil pe kiya aisa jaadu”, “muhobbat karlo aji karlo”, “sun sun sun sun zaalima”, composed by OP Nayyar, created landmark in the mid-50s and Rafi emerged as the greatest singer of bollywood films during that time.
The same combination of Guru Dutt, OP Nayyar and Rafi gave everlasting hit in the film 12 O Clock with songs like “mai kho gaya”. When Guru Dutt used SD Burman for composing songs in the film Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ka Phool, Rafi was used brilliantly for the legendary music of those films. Both the films won national and international awards and remain a landmark in the field of story-telling. Rafi’s songs “sar jot era chakrae” picturised on Johnny Walker and “hum aapke aankho me” and “yeh mahalon yeh takhton yeh taajon ki duniya” picturised on Guru Dutt had emotions, passions, comedy, tragedy everything embedded in them. Rafi’s duet combination with Geeta Dutt was bolstered in the film. The lyrics were outstanding as well. The films marked the best music given by SD Burman in his entire lifetime.
Guru Dutt can boast himself to have given lips in one of Rafi’s best ghazals sung in the history of bollywood films titled “chaudavi ka chaand”. Guru Dutt picturised the song sequence with colour, showing his passionate relationship with Wahida Rehman in the film Chaudavi Ka Chand. Ravi’s music in the film showed the pardanashin culture of muslims in India during the early 60s.
Rafi also sang songs for Guru Dutt in the film Saanjh Aur Sawera, composed by Shankar Jaikishan. The title song “yehi hai who saanjh aur sawera” sung by Rafi became very popular. Meena Kumari balanced the powerful performance of Guru Dutt in the film. The other films where Rafi had contributed for Guru Dutt include Bharosa where Ravi composed melodious tunes including “yeh jhuki jhuki naina” picturised on Guru Dutt and Asha Parekh.
Guru Dutt’s music in the film Baharen Phir Bhi Aayegi composed by OP Nayyar, created sensation in the mid -60s. It was a tragedy, that Guru Dutt died before the release of the film and could not see the success of the film. The songs sung by Rafi and picturised on Dharmender mesmerized the audience and still haunts people all over the world. One of those brilliant songs include “aap ki haseen rukh me aaj naya nur hai, mera dil machal gaya to mera kya kasoor hai”.
The uniqueness of Guru Dutt’s relationship with Rafi lies in the fact that whether the composer was OP Nayyar or Shankar Jaikishan or SD Burman or Ravi, the music composed for whom had philosophical thoughts embedded in them and Rafi gave expression to the mesmerizing lyrics of evergreen tunes which had become immortal over a period of time. The films and the songs should be preserved and restored.
Uttam Kumar in the 50s and 60s acted opposite different actresses, some who were beautiful, like Sumitra Debi, Suchitra Sen, Sharmila Tagore, etc., while others who had wide ranging acting conceptions like Manju Dey, Sabitri Chatterji and others. Arundhuti Debi was one of the highly educated characters whose qualifications were expressed in the characters she had played in a long career spanning over 25 years.
With Uttam Kumar Arundhuti Debi acted in approximately 8 films including Bokul, Shiulibari, Jhinder Bandi, Jotugriha, Nabajanma, Manmayi Girls School, Pushpodhonu and Bicharak. While in Bicharak, she expressed the feelings of a confused sister whose elder sister was married to Uttam Kumar. Uttam Kumar was attracted to Arundhuti Debi and when fire broke out in the house and his first wife Deepti Ray required his help, he declined to help her and allowed her to die. A similar type of case was adjudicated by Uttam Kumar when he was a judge, when Chabi Biswas, the Public Prosecutor talked about the liability of the accused who could have saved the life of his brother, but he did not do so. Uttam Kumar was asked by Arundhuti Debi to examine his own conscience about his liability towards Deepti Roy in Prabhat Mukherjee’s classic film.
Arundhuti Debi and Uttam Kumar showed their comedy conception in the film Manmayi Girl’s School, where they had to pretend to be spouses, because their landlord rented his house to them only on the condition of marriage. But their playacting resulted in an affair with one another. In Pushpadhanu, Arundhuti Debi brought up her husband’s child after he deserted her and got attached with Uttam Kumar who understood the feelings of an established dancer who got recognition but was a loner.
Jhinder Bandi was made with the historical touch of Prisoner of Zenda and Tapan Sinha astonished the viewers with his treatment in the Indian context. The royal style of living of Rajputs was well demonstrated by both Uttam Kumar and Arundhuti Debi. Shiulibari was directed by Pijus Bose, who utilized the talent of Uttam Kumar and Arundhuti in a story based on the life of villagers of West Bengal.
Jotugriha, directed by Tapan Sinha, was probably the most successful film of Uttam Kumar and Arundhuti Debi. In that film lack of begetting a child led to disharmony of the married couple. Both Uttam Kumar and Arundhuti Debi got separated and even after separation never lost the respect of each other. The story ends with both the spouses travelling in to trains which crossed each other. The level of performance of both Uttam Kumar and Arundhuti Debi, was such that there were no Indian actor or actress who could match the standard of performance.
Uttam Kumar was the greatest superstar of Bengali cinema and became one-man industry in the 70s. Critics argue that no Indian star other than Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor had the individual charishma which Uttam Kumar had and if his Hindi films clicked he could have created serious competition for the stars of 60s. But Arundhuti Debi’s films with Uttam Kumar were so rich in literature, script and performance that critics argue that the combination addressed the concerns of intellectual audience of the country more than any other combination. The films should be restored for their aesthetic value.