Tomorrow is legendary singer Geeta Dutt's 81st birth anniversary. It is also the day when unique features will be added to a website created in her memory.
San Francisco- based techie Parag Sankla, Delhi-based doctor Mahesh Sagar, Waheed Dehawar of Pakistan and Mumbai composer Tushar Bhatia share a fascination for legendary singer Geeta Dutt. Along with 25 others from different parts of the world, they created the website www.geetadutt.com, on November 23, 2008, to coincide with her birth anniversary that year. Dutt passed away in 1972.
They haven't met each other in the last three years, but each has contributed to the website's rare content. This is the only site totally dedicated to the songstress. She sang evergreen melodies like Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam (Kaagaz Ke Phool), Piya Aiso Jiya Main (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam), Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata (Mr and Mrs 55), Jaane Kya Tune Kahi (Pyaasa), Ae Dil Mujhe Bata De (Bhai Bhai) and several more.
Besides obligatory information about Dutt, the website boasts of data not available otherwise on the web. This includes every word of the Jaimala programme presented by her in 1969, rarely seen photographs, non-film songs, her rendition of Vande Mataram, stills from Badhubaran (a 1967 film in which she acted) and a database of Dutt's songs in Gujarati, Nepali, Bhojpuri and Marathi among others.
Every year, on November 23, the team adds something unique to the website as a tribute. Tomorrow, they plan to upload exclusive Punjabi, Gujarati and Marathi songs sung by Dutt. "We have recently found these songs with the help of the Society of Indian Record Collector (SIRC), Mumbai. We will also put up photos of her LPs," says Sankla, who gave shape to this non-commercial website along with Pradeep Prabhu, Nimmi Nayak and the late Bappa Chatterjee. Conceived in 2004, the idea required a few years of research.
Once ready, the team approached music enthusiasts through an online music community. "Most web data had similar information. So, we looked for other sources," says Sankla. While Bengaluru-based Chetan Vinchi compiled facts about Gujarati songs by Geeta Dutt, a web designer from Kolkata, Subir Biswas, designed the site. Bengaluru's Gajendra Khanna gave technical inputs and Delhi-based Dr Sagar was responsible for research. "Help poured in various forms not only from India, but also Bangladesh, UAE, UK and other European countries," adds Sankla.
The team also collected inputs from Pune-based Hemanti Banerjee, author of the book Geeta Dutt - The Skylark, released in 2008. "It is admirable that they have tried to bring forth the invaluable creative side of the artiste," says Banerjee.
Arun Dutt, the singer's Pune-based son, regards the website as a great initiative because he always felt that while his father Guru Dutt was always in the limelight, his mother's work was ignored to a large extent.
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