Geeta Dutt and Mohd Rafi
This article is written by Mr. Venkatadri Brahmandam (Venkat from HF).
Geeta Dutt had sung over 150 duets with the great Mohammed Rafi, her highest number with any singer. Now, Mohammed Rafi, the singer-par-excellence, needs no new introduction. He was a colossus that ruled the Indian Film Music for over three decades all the way unto his untimely death in 1980. Even after his death, he was continuing to eternally rule the hearts of genuine music-lovers of successive generations.
Almighty God had blessed Mohammed Rafi with a Voice that could modulate and mould itself horizontally and vertically, so effortlessly and at will. That was a Voice which could express a hundred emotions so beautifully, be it pathos, love & romance, despair, frustration, patriotism, devotion, courage, determination, mischief, comedy, mock, philosophy, preaching, etc.
No wonder, most Legends, be they Music Directors or co-singers, be they his contemporaries or of later times, always eulogize(d) him with so much sincere passion and never tire(d) of pronouncing him as the best singer of all times.
Geeta Dutt had combined with Mohammed Rafi so very well to give us scores of memorable duets.
While there are over 150 Rafi-Geeta duets, five Music Directors, O.P.Nayyar, Chitragupta, S.D.Burman, Hansraj Behl and N.Datta account for a half of these Rafi-Geeta duets
By the way, there is a fundamental difference between Geeta Dutt and Lata Mangeshkar. Lata Mangeshkar, with her conventionally beautiful voice, makes a huge impact on the listener instantly. Geeta Dutt, with her nasal tinge and peculiar intonation, takes a while to impress the listener and to grow upon him/her.
As one music critic had said, Geeta Dutt is Thandi Hawa and Kali Ghata rolled into one. She was completely and equally at ease with heavy, tear-jerking numbers, on the one hand, and naughty, seductive teasers on the other.
People first took note of the effectiveness of Rafi-Geeta combination, in a group song of Geeta, Rafi, S.D.Batish and others in Film: Hamari Manzil(1949), “Katen Banenege Kaliyan Katon Se Khelta Jaa“, composed by Husnlal Bhagatram.
But, when one speaks of Geeta-Rafi duets, somehow one automatically thinks of O.P.Nayyar. For it was O.P.Nayyar’s Film:Aar Paar (1954) that had delivered the first big-ticket duets of this duo. “Sun Sun Sun Sun Zalima“, “Are Na Na Na Na Aisa Tauba Tauba” and “Mohabbat Kar Le Jee Bhar Le“. This great, lively and peppy association of these three greats, OPN, Geeta and Rafi went on for many Films, Mr. & Mrs. 55 , Musafirkhana (1955); Bhagambhagh, CID, Choomantar, Mr.Lambu, Shrimati 420 (1956); Bade Sarkar, Johnny Walker, Main Baap, Ustad (1957) and 12O Clock (1958). After 1958, O.P.Nayyar, for reasons musical and not-so-musical, had gravitated towards the equally talented, but more aggressive, Asha Bhosle.
Geeta-Rafi duets under S.D.Burman are much fewer in number. But, one gets the feeling of a far higher number because some of those are of real sublime quality, such as “Ham Aap Ki Aankhon Mein” from Pyasa (1957), “Rimjhim Ke Taraane Leke Aayi Barsaat” from Kala Bazaar (1960), “Chupke Se Mile Pyaase Pyaase” from Manzil (1960), “Bataavo Kya Karungi Main Jo Gham Ki Raat Aayegi“, from Ek Ke Baad Ek (1960), “Tu Ne Le Liya Hai Dil, Ab Kya Hoga“from Miya Biwi Raazi (1960), etc.
Coming to Chitragupta, one is bound to be surprised that it was he who had created the highest number (25) of Rafi-Geeta duets. And some real good ones too, such as “Ho Chat Mangni To Pat Shadi” from Chaal Baaz (1958), “Kabhi Toh Haan Haan Kaho Na” from Son Of Sindbad (1958), “Jawaab Nahin Gore Mukhde Par Til Kaale Ka” from Kangan (1959),) “Teri Nazar Mein Main Rahun” from Band Master (1962), etc.
Chitragupta’s Rafi-Geeta duets used to be of the traditional semi-clasiical or folk type until around 1957. Thereafter, it appears Chitragupta was inspired by O.P.Nayyar’s successful and fast-paced Rafi-Geeta duets and thus he too went on composing fast, peppy, western-type duets with Rafi and Geeta.
Coming to N.Datta, who can forget his “Tum Mile Woh Din Dhale” from Dr. Shaitan(1960) and “Awara Abdullah Yeh Pyaar Ka Halla Gulla” from Awara Abdullah(1962)?
Even some very lesser-known Muisc Directors have contributed their own memorable duets with this great duo. A case in point is the pathos-laden duet by Music Director, Jimmy from Film:Payaar Ki Baazi, “Humein Pyaar Karne Na Dega Zamaana” even as late as 1966!!
Johnny Walker has the highest number of songs for any comedian-hero, a large proportion of which are even duets! No other comedian has this distinction. And as we are well aware, Rafi has a total monopoly over songs/duets featuring Johnny Walker. Geeta Dutt, in turn, had the distinction of partnering Rafi in almost all the duets featuring Johnny Walker, barring very few.
While some 80-90 duets of Rafi-Geeta are better-known and popular, there are another 50-60 of them that are relatively rare, but are as good as some of the more popular numbers.
Let us fondly recall some of these rare duets.
1) “Phool Ko Bhool Ke Le Baitha Thha, Tera Kanton Se Hai Pyaar” from Film:Chunariya (1948)-MD:Hansraj Behl
One is bound to enjoy the fresh voices of the two legends in this vintage number, with a lot of nostalgia.
2) “O Dil Zakhmon Se Choor Magar Tu Kya Jaane” from Film:Aadhi Raat(1950)-MD:Husnalal Bhagatram
This nice duet is probably one of the very few duets in which HB had deployed Geeta Dutt
3) “Dil Se Dil Thakraaye, Phir Donon Ghabhraaye“-from Film:Love Marriage(1959)-MD:Shankar Jaikishan
This is the title song of the Film and is a very nice and peppy duet. Again a very rare use of Geeta Dutt by SJ.
4) “Koyi Chand Koyi Taara, Dekha Tujhsa Na Pyara” from Film:Taxi 555(1958)-MD:Sardar Malik
Yet another peppy and lively duet.
5) “Chahe Qismat Ham Ko Rulaye, Aur Apna Paraye Samjhaaye, Chahe Duniya Lakh Sataaye, Tera Mera Pyaar Na Jaaye” from Film:Neelam Pari (1952)-MD:Khursheed Anwar
Another beautiful, pathos-laden song and an excellent rendition by both the legends.
6) “Meri Jaan Gair Ko Tum Paan Khilaya Na Karo, Mere Armaan Bhare Dil Ko Jalaaya Na Karo” from Film:Kundan(1955)-MD:Ghulam Mohammed
Another nice duet in the comedy-genre, picturised on Om Prakash.
7) “O Soniye, O Soniye, Jab Jeet Huyi Hamari To Chalo Ham Shan Se Chale” from Film :10 o Clock (1958)-MD:Ram Ganguly
A very nice and peppy duet based on Punjabi folk , quite unusually from Ram Ganguly.
8 ) “Kal Talak Ham Theek Thha, Aaj Hame Kya Ho Gaya” from Film:Detective (1958)-MD:Mukul Roy
This one is a real beautiful number, composed in OPN style by Geeta’s brother, Mukul Roy, and picturised on Johnny Walker. The Mukhda tune is bound to remind you of the old English song, “Let’s Play the Game of Love”!
9) “Un Se Rippi Tippi Ho Gayi, Yani Baat Pakki Ho Gayi, Aage Aage Dekhiye Hoga Hoga Kya” from Film:Agra Road (1957)-MD:Roshan
Another real nice and pleasant number picturised on Vijay Anand and Shakeela. Notice the soft yodeling by Rafi Saab in this duet.
10) “Nadi Kinaare Koyi Pukaare Paas Hamare Aa” from Film:Chandramukhi (1960)-MD:S.N.Tripathi
Yet another beautiful duet composed by S.N.Tripathi
11) “Kahan Chali Re Chali Re Kahan Chali, Kahan Chali Re Chali Re Meri Tarara, Ri Ri Ri Main Ra Ra Ra” from Film:Pyar Ki Dastaan (1961)-MD:Naashad
Another nice comedy number picturised on Mohan Chhoti and Helen.
12) “Jis Ko Dhoondti Phirti Hai Meri Nazar, Tu Wohi Tu Nahin” from Film:Sheesh Mahal(1950)-MD:Vasant Desai
This is another great Rafi-Geeta duet picturised on Praan and Nigar
13) “Hello Hello O Meri Chammakchallo Aao Aao Karle Pyar Challo Challo” from Film:School Master (1959)-MD:Vasant Desai
One more lively and peppy duet by Rafi and Geeta.
14) “Dil Ham To Haare, Tum Kaho Pyaare, Gaalon Ka Til Kab Haroge” from Film:Ardhangini(1959)-MD:Vasant Desai
A very nice duet and a familiar one to Vividhbharati regulars. Both the singers render this with great energy and josh.
15) “Kal Saajana, Milna Yahan” from Film:Ardhangini(1959)-MD:Vasant Desai
Yet another lovely and fast beat song.
16) “Chunak Chunak Tham Thai Thayya” from Film:Panchaayat(1958)-MD:Iqbal Quereshi
This is one other lovely, lively duet picturised on Raj Kumar and Shyaama. A familiar one to old-time, radio listeners.
17) “Haal Yeh Kar Diya Zalim Tere Tadpaane Ne, Tere Tadpaane Ne” from Film:Panchayat(1958)-MD:Iqbal Quereshi
One more very good duet from Film:Panchayat.
18) “Lag Gayi Aankhiyan Tum Se Mori, O More Balam” from Film:Jeevan Jyoti(1953)-MD:S.D.Burman
Yet another rare and nice duet.
19) “Raham Kabhi To Farmaavo, Maaavo Maavo Meri Laila” from Film:Society(1955)-MD:S.D.Burman
Another very nice duet by the duo picturised on Johnny Walker and Kumkum.
20) “Ho Lakh Museebat Rasten Mein Par Saath Apna Na Choote” from Film:Pyasa(1957)-MD:S.D.Burman
This 1:44 duration clip from Film:Pyasa is indeed a very rare, collectors’ item.
It was quite common for great MDs such as SJ and SDB to compose one musical bit or the other in one of their earlier Films and use the same bit for a full-fledged song in one of their subsequent Films. Similarly, if you hear the prelude accordion music of this rare Pyasa duet, you will notice that the duet, “Chup Ke Se Mile Pyaase“, from Film:Manzil(1960) was inspired by that prelude accordion bit. Secondly, listen carefully to that “La La La La La Lala Lalla” bit in it and you will remember the “Hay Yeh Nigahen” song from Film:Paying Guest(1957).
In addition to the Rafi-Geeta duets listed above, there are many more rare and nice Rafi-Geeta duets under O.P.Nayyar, Chitragupta and N.Datta too.
1.”Achha Ji Maaf Kar Do, Thoda Insaaf Kar Do, Dil Par Jo Teer Chalaaye Un Ka Hisab Kar Do” from Film:Musafirkhana(1955)-MD:O.P.Nayyar
A great Rafi-Geeta duet. Listen to the “Jaaao Ji Maaf Kiya, Ham Ne Insaaf Kiya” part and you may notice shades of Lata’s “Jiya Beqarar Hai, Chhayi Bahar Hai” from Film:Barsaat(1949)!
2) “Jahan Jahan Khayal Jaata Hai, Wahan Wahan Tumhi Ko Paata Hai” from Film:Bade Sarkar(1957)-MD:OPN
Oh, what a duet! Great composition by OPN and great rendition by Rafi and Geeta!
3) “Dekho Ji Dekho Meethi Ada Se” from Film:Mai Baap(1957)-MD:OPN
Another great trio by OPN-Rafi-Geeta!! A â€˜must-listen’!
1) “Chup Ke Chup Ke Dil Mein Mere Aane Wale, Ho Dekho Preet Nibhaana” from Film:Hamara Ghar(1950)-MD:Chitragupta
A real old-world melody sung so beautifully by the duo.
2) “Ham Tum Se Poochte Hain, Sach Sach Hame Bataana” from Film:Hamari Shan(1951)-MD:Chitragupta
Another great Rafi-Geeta duet.
3) “Badi Mushqil Se Aisi Sham Aayi Hai Na Chup Raho” from Film:Tarang (1952)-MD:Chitragupta
Yet another melodious number of the early fifties type.
4) “Suniye Suniye Hamara Fasaana Dil Na Jaane Kahan Kho Gaya” from Film:Daughter of Sindbad(1958)-MD:Chitragupta
A real great duet by the duo and a great romantic composition by Chitragupta.
5) “Dil Phanse Deke Jhanse Haay Teri Nazar Mastani” from Film:Daaka (1959)-MD:Chitragupta
Another pleasant, peppy and stylish duet by Rafi-Geeta.
6) “Zalim Kehna Maan, Lachkti Chal Na Kha Kar Paan” from Film:Baraat(1960)-MD:Chitragupta
One other peppy, fast beat, Punjabi folk song by the duo.
7) “Teri Taqdeer Ka Sitara Kamal Hai” from Film:Zabak(1961)-MD:Chitragupta
Yet another great trio by Rafi, Geeta and Balbeer.
1) “Bachna Zara Zamana Hai Bura Kabhi Meri Gali Mein Na Aana” from Film:Milaap (1955)-MD:N.Datta
A nice duet picturised on Johnny Walker. The Mukhda tune of this duet was inspired by the Mukhda tune of another 1955 Lata song, “Tara Rara Ram Mere Dil Mein Sanam” from Film:Hoor-e-Arab(1955).
2) “Sadke Teri Chaal Ke, Kajra Wajra Daal Ke” from Film:Mister X (1957)-MD:N.Datta
A nice Punjabi folk- type duet.
3) “Pandit Ho Ya Lala, Ya Gandhi Topi Wala, Jo Bhi Khaaye” from Film:Rickshawala (1960)-MD:N.Datta
Yet another nice duet picturised on Johnny Walker.
Not much is known, however, regarding the personal relationship and equation between Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi. But, it is safe to surmise that they both shared an excellent working relationship. A straight and simple relationship, so unlike the ones that Rafi had with the two big sisters.
Actually, it must have been quite a task for any female singer to partner a Rafi Saab, who would frequently be deploying his Adayen and Harkatein, at will. It was required of the female singer to sing with a straight face in the midst of these Rafi harkatein.
Take the example of the beautiful Geeta-Rafi duet “Legaya Dekho Dekho Dil Bhi Hamara” from Film:Samundar(1957), composed by Madan Mohan. In this duet, what strikes one as cute is the way Geeta Dutt keeps singing her lines in right earnest, while Rafi Saab keeps saying his intoxicated/drunken lines, which can easily unsettle the co-singer.
Another example of this kind is seen in Film: Shrimati 420 (1956). The peppy duet is “Ham Ko Chod Ke Kahan Jaavoge, Saiyan Tum Bada Dukh Paavoge“. In this one, Rafi Saab has just interventions of the “Achha“, “Ahha“, “Ohho” type!!
All in all, Rafi and Geeta were a great duet pair who had given to music lovers some wonderful and unforgettable songs.