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GEETA BALI (1930-1965)

Geeta Bali was an actor. She was born Harkirtan Kaur, a Sikh, to a Mohyal family in pre-partition Punjab. The Mohyals were Brahmins who had left the occupation of priests to become soldiers. They moved to Mumbai around the time of Partition and lived there in great poverty. However, Geeta’s charm and talents started to get her breaks in films. She made her debut in 1948 with Jalsa and Sohag Raat. She worked with her future brother-in-law Raj Kapoor in Bawre Nain (1950) and with her future father-in-law Prithviraj Kapoor in Anand Math (1952). In 1955 she did a cameo role with Shammi Kapoor on Kedar Sharma’s Rangeen Raaten on location at Ranikhet in Kumaon region. In that romantic setting the two actors fell in love. Shammi Kapoor was then not yet a star, and he was a year younger that her. Four months later, they eloped and got married at the Banganga temple at 4am on 23 August. There was no vermilion so Shammi applied Geeta’s lipstick to her parting as a sign of marriage. Unlike other actresses who gave up films after marrying into the Kapoor family, Bali continued her career. They had two children. Later her niece, Yogeeta Bali also made it into films. Her secretary was Surinder Kapoor, father of producer Boney Kapoor and actor Anil Kapoor. She died on January 21, 1965, of smallpox. Her films include Baazi (1951), Raag Rang (which she also produced, 1952), Coffee House (1957). Her last film Rano was left unfinished. She received a Filmfare Nomination as Best Actress for Vachan (1955) and another nomination as Best Supporting Actress for Kavi (1954).
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