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Sudhir Phadke

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Sudhir Phadke (Marathi: सुधीर फडके, July 25, 1919 - July 29, 2002) was an accomplished Marathi singer-composer from India. He was regarded as an icon of the Marathi film industry and Marathi Sugam Sangeet (light music) for five decades. Apart from Marathi, Phadke sang and composed songs in several Hindi films as well. Phadke was affectionately known as Babuji (an honorary title given to respected gentlemen in India).

Sudhir Phadke was born in Kolhapur on July 25, 1919. His birth name was Ram Phadke, but he later changed his name to ‘Sudhir’ when he composed a song for HMV because he thought ‘Sudhir Phadke’ sounded more ‘weighty’. Phadke acquired his primary tutelage in vocal classical music from the late Vamanrao Padhye in Kolhapur. After beginning his career with HMV in 1941, he joined the Prabhat Film Company as music director in 1946. During his long career, he composed for many Marathi and Hindi films. He was also an immaculate playback singer. Phadke married his fellow singer Lalita Deulkar. Their son Shridhar Phadke (born 1951) is also a composer and singer.
Geet Ramayana, based on poet G D Madgulkar’s verses, is one of Phadke’s most popular works. The programme ran on All India Radio for a year, 1954-55. Stage performances of the program continue to draw huge crowds even today. Phadke set to music all 56 songs, and they were sung by different singers for radio (Manik Verma, Lata Mangeshkar, Phadke himself, Vasantrao Deshpande etc). All 56 songs were also recorded in Phadke’s own voice.

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