Tribute to the queen of emotions

Tribute to the queen of emotions

An evening dedicated to a legendary singer struck the right chord with the audience. Svarpana – a Delhi-based group promoting various arts forms like singing, dancing and acting – presented a tribute to Geeta Dutt on her 41st death anniversary with the lead vocalist and an energetic performer Shetal Gupta.

Woven around the story of Geeta Dutt’s melancholic life, the tribute was narrated by Pawan Naidu – head of Svarpana and a veteran in performing arts. Shetal’s voice and active stage presence touched everyone’s heart as she effortlessly sang a series of 17 evergreen songs starting with Waqt ne kia kya hasin sitam.

The inspiration for this tribute was to preserve the legacy left behind by Geeta. “Sadly, no one remembers her,” says Naidu, who has devoted 25 years to present a live concert of Geeta Dutt songs by a solo artist.

Highly qualified and hailing from an aristocratic zamindar family of Faridpur, Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhury took the industry by storm with her influential and soulful voice. Redefining versatility by fluently singing different genres, the queen of emotions has songs of all moods to her credit – from the cheerful Babuji dheere chalna and Mera naam chin chin chu, the romantics like the famous Na jao saiyyan, to some sad and poignant ones like Mera sundar sapna beet gaya – impressively brought alive by Shetal.

Naidu points out, “I’ve been paying this tribute every year since 2007 to packed houses across the country. We’ve taken care that the songs have the same feel as Geeta would ingrain in her intoxicating voice. Since she was not extensively trained in classical music, expressions dominated her songs which made her a household name.” Shetal is equally concerned. “I read Geeta Dutt’s blog, maintained by her daughter, saying that ‘no one pays tribute to my mother’. We want to tell her that we have not forgotten her,” Shetal shares.

Indicating the veteran singer’s loneliness, the tribute was named Ek Adhura Sapna. Naidu elaborated during the concert, “Geeta was an established singer when she married Guru Dutt – then a struggling assistant director. But he couldn’t fulfill his promise and respect for this relationship. He fell for Waheeda Rehman and Geeta was left alone.”

Sheetal says, “At the peak of her career, she stopped singing for all other music directors and sang only for Guru Dutt’s productions; but he took to infidelity despite Geeta’s commitment to marriage.”

Completely broken, Geeta had stopped singing altogether in mid 1960s. But her brother dragged her back into singing for his film Anubhav in 1972 with the hit song Mujhe chah na sako meri jaan. The industry that had written off Geeta Dutt, when Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle ruled, was stunned at the comeback. But sadly this was her last song as she had taken to drinking and died young the same year.

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