Snehal Bhatkar was born on 17 July 1919 in Mumbai in a Marathi-speaking family. His father died when he was 18 months old. His mother was a teacher and was a singer as well. It was from her that he picked up the basics of music. After completing matriculation he learned music at a music school in Dadar. He use to sing bhajans at various programs.
His real name was Vasudeo Bhatkar. He became very famous in his neighburhood for his singing and harmonium playing. He got a job with HMV in Bombay in 1939. During his stay at HMV he came in contact with many music masters and he also played harmonium with the likes of Mallikarjuna Mansoor, Kesarbai Kerkar, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saheb etc. Once Kidar Sharma
visited him and offered him a film which was being done by Chisti saab, who moved to Pakistan after the partition and the film was not finished. Bhatkar composed the songs for the film. This film was Kaliyaan.
Bhatkar then got a Marathi Hindi film, Rukmani Swayamwar, alongwith the composer Sudir Phadke. The music was credited to the duo Vasudeo-Sudhir. Kidar Sharma once again offer him a solo film titled Neel Kamal, but, this time HMV did not allow him to sign the film as it was against the company's policy. Kidar Shrma
came up with an idea, he changed his name from Vasudeo to Snehal. That's how the name Snehal Bhatkar came into the light. The name was taken from Bhatkar's daughter, named Sneh Lata.
In the coming days Bhatkar composed songs for the films, Suhaag Raat, Hamari Beti, Chhabili. He even made Nutan, actress of the film Chhabili, sing six songs in the film. He composed music for Deewali Ki Raat, Hamari Beti, Bhola Shankar, Nand Kishore, gunaah, Aaj kI baat, Bindiya, Daku, Jaideep, Hamari Yaad Aayegi, Fariyaad etc.
He composed a tune especially for Lata Mangeshkar
in Kidar Sharma
's Hamari Yaad Aayegi, but Lata was too busy to sing for him. He then tried to rope in Asha Bhosle
, but, she too was busy with her recordings with C. Ramchandra
. Kidar Sharma
was furious and he got Mubaraq Begum
to sing that song. To date this songs remains as the signature song of Mubaraq Begum
. The song was "Kabhi tanhaiyon mein yun hamari yaad aayegi...". He composed it as if it was tailor made for Mubaraq
In his career he composed music for over 30 films and over a dozen of children films.
He lived a contended life with his wife and three children, Ramesh Bhatkar, Avinash Bhatkar and daughter Snehlata Bhatkar. He died at his Mumbai residence on 29 May 2007 at the age of 87 years.