Geeta Bali took birth in 1930 in a Sikh family in pre-partition Punjab. She did a few song and dance numbers in films of that region like Badnami. Later her family migrated to Bombay and had to survive on very meager means. Legend has it that she was actually living with her family in someone’s bathroom when her mentor, filmmaker Kidar Sharma spotted her and cast her in his Suhaag Raat (1948). She enthralled the audience when in one scene she imperturbably flung her unconscious hero over her shoulder.
After that Geeta was flooded with contracts. Bur her talent largely remained untapped, as the economic condition of her family forced her to take up any role that came her way, she did not have the luxury to pick and choose. But her stellar performances in all her films marked her as a notch above the rest of her contemporaries. She shined in even supporting roles alongside notable actresses of her times, like Suraiya and Madhubala. Her rise to stardom happened with Guru Dutt’s phenomenal success Baazi (1951). In this film lso, Geeta only played a mobster’s moll and not the lead role. Her feisty dance with Tadbeer Se Bigri Huyi Taqdeer Bana De drew the masses to the theatre. In her acting career she was featured in several other evergreen numbers as well.
Geeta Bali in 1955 married Shammi Kapoor, who was 2 years’ younger to her and a struggling actor at the time of her marriage. She had acted with his brother Raj Kappor in Bavre Nain and also his father Prithviraj Kapoor in Anand Math. With Shammi she had two children - one son named Aditya and one daughter christened Kanchan.
Geeta Bali had a strikingly animated countenance, her vibrant, expressive eyes mirrored her spirited soul. Unfortunately this vivacious actress died of chicken pox at the painfully young age of 35, on 21st January 1965. Nevertheless, even in that short period of time Geeta starred in almost 70 films in a career spanning over a decade. She is till date revered as a tremendously spontaneous actress and a wonderful human being.
In 1951, she became a major star with Guru Dutt's first hit, Baazi (she went on to do three other films under his direction). Geeta played gangster's moll with a golden heart to Kalpana Kartik's conventional heroine. But Geeta played her role with such gay abandon that hero Dev Anand divulges, "People came repeatedly to theatres to see Geeta's spirited dancing to Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana de.
Geeta proved she could do tragedy (Sharma's Raj Kapoor starrer Bawre Nain) or and play the lighthearted heroine to comedian Bhagwan in the super successful AlbelaAlbela's swinging C Ramchandra composed songs like Shola jo bhadke and Sham dhale mere khidki tale made front-benchers dance with the stars and even fling coins on screen.
A few landmark films in wich Geeta Bali acted
1948 Suhaag Raat
1949 Badi Bahen
1950 Bawre Nain
Famous songs picturised on Geeta Bali:
Chup chup khade ho zaroor koi baat hai - Badi Bahen
Sun bairi balam sach bol re - Bawre Nain
Chaandni aayee banke pyar o saajna - Dulari
Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana de - Baazi
Suno gajar kya gaaye - Baazi
Shola jo bhadke - Albela
Bholi soorat dil ke khote - Albela
Chaandni raatein pyar ki baatein - Jaal
Hum pyar mein jalne walon ko - Jailor
Sari sari raat teri yaad jagaye - Aji Bas Shukriya