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Geeta Bali

Geeta Bali (1930 – 21 January 1965) was a popular film actress from Bollywood. Bali was born in pre-partition Punjab in Sargodha as Harkirtan Kaur. Her family moved to Mumbai and were living in near poverty when she started to get breaks in films.

Geeta Baali started her film career as a child actress, at the age of 12, with the film The Cobbler. She made her debut as a heroine in Badnaami.

Bali became a star in the 1950s. She had also worked earlier with her future brother-in-law Raj Kapoor in Bawre Nain and with her future father-in-law Prithviraj Kapoor in Anand Math. Unlike other actresses who gave up films after marrying into the Kapoor family, Bali kept acting until her death. Her last film was Jab Se Tumko Dekha Hai in 1963.

Her secretary was Surinder Kapoor, father of producer Boney Kapoor, actor Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Kapoor.

Bali’s parents were well educated. They lived in Amritsar before 1947. Her father, Pandit Kartar Singh, known as Philosopher, was blind. He was a Sikh scholar and kirtan (Sikh devotional music) singer. Her maternal grandfather, Takhat Singh (1870-1937), was the founder of Sikh Kanya Mahavidyalay - a boarding school for girls and the first of its kind established in 1904 in Ferozepur. The parents encouraged their daughters, Harkirtan (Geeta Bali) and Hardarshan, to learn classical music and dance, horse riding and gatka fencing. Fundamentalist Sikhs socially boycotted the family as they did not like the girls performing in public and they picketed theatres. [Source: Amar Bharti interviewed by Amrita Pritam, Nagmani December 1982]

On 23 August 1955 Geeta married Shammi Kapoor, with whom she was working in the film Coffee House. They had two children, a son (Aditya) and a daughter (Kanchan).

She died on 21 January 1965, having contracted smallpox while shooting a Punjabi film, Rano, based on a novel Eik Chadar Maili Si by Rajinder Singh Bedi. He was directing the film and she was the producer. Bedi, devastated by the untimely death of Bali, abandoned the project. He wrote later that he had put the novel on her burning funeral pyre. She is the aunt of Yogeeta Bali.












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