Gyan Dutt was one of the most prominent music directors in Bollywood in the 1940s. He was associated with Ranjit Movietone. He debuted with Toofani Toli in 1937. He composed the masterpiece 'Kyun nainon se neer bahayen..; which was sung by Waheedan. He was associated with Ranjit Movietone till 1940 and did roughly 11 films.
In the 1940, Gyan Dutt composed music for Chandulala Shah's Achhut which starred Motilal and Gauhar. Gyan Dutt masterfully composed 'Di dukhi ko daan diya, Koi bajaye na prem ki veena' and 'Nahi bolu nahi bolu'. Gandhi's favourite bhajan, Raghupati raghav raja ram was also included in this film.
Gyan Dutt's biggest hit, Bhakt Surdas was released in 1942 and saw the involvement of legendary singer K L Saigal and Khursheed. Gyan Dutt composed over fifteen songs for the film. Most of these songs became major hits. Saigal sang his best numbers during this film – Nis din barshat nain hamare, Nain heen ko raah dikha prabhu and Maiya mori mai nahi makhan khayo. He also sang memorable duets with Khursheed, Chandni raat aour tare khile ho and Jis jogi ko jog liya. Another hit duet was 'Sar pe kadam ki chhaiyan muraliya baaj rahi...'. In 1943, he composed for film Adab Arz which starred Nalni Jaywant, Karan Deewan and singer Mukesh, who also acted in the movie. Nalini sang 'Haryala banna, ho bhai matwala bana and Kehta hai ye dil baar baar...'. In the same year Nurse was released, starring Khursheed and Arun. He used Khursheed's voice for 'Koliya khahe bole re, Kahani ban gai mori', 'Mere dil ki suno pukar' and 'Aankhon ka kheel kheel ke'. With the arrival of new comers he started to get fewer offers and he was sidelined. In the year 1950 he composed for Dilruba, starring Rehana, Dev Anand and Yakoob. It featured a wonderful duet by Geeta Dutt and G M Durrani, 'Hamne Khayi Hai Mohabbat Ki Kasam'. In another song 'Dhak Dhak Karti Chali..' Gyan Dutt effectively used the sound of train engine. Geeta Dutt modulated her voice in recitations of "Sukh Dukh Sukh Dukh Sukh Dukh Sukh Dukh" to create the sound matching to "Dhak Dhak Dhak Dhak Dhak Dhak Dhak Dhak".
He also rendered his voice for some of the self composed songs, like, 'Are beraham kainchi kyun chalata hai' (Secretary), 'Chhal bal karke chitwan bharke..'(Adhoori Kahani), 'Nadi kinare aao sajan..' (Nadi Kinare), 'Deen dukhi ko daan diya..; (Achchoot), 'Too kaisa hai Bhagwan..' (Dheeraj) etc. He also sang a song under music director timir Baran in the film Raj Nartaki. The song was 'Jai Madhav Mukund Murarai'.
Janam Janam Ke Saathi was his last film which was released in 1965. The music failed to make any mark and with that Gyan Dutt retired. He died on December 3, 1974. He has left behind a veritable treasure of evergreen melodies from a forgotten time.