Sudhir Phadke was born as Ram Phadke in Kolhapur, Maharashtra on 25th July 1919. He was very keen on music, so his father, a busy lawyer, entrusted his music learning to the care of Pandit Wamanrao Padhye of the Gwalior school of singing. This was in Kolhapur. But Sudhir was just 10 years of age when his mother passed away. That was sad, and it changed things ofr him. He was sent to Bombay now to learn under one Dr Bhajekar, who took good care of him. Here Sudhir did a lot of riyaaz, and now also went to the Maharashtra Sangeet Vidyalaya to learn rto sing more. But soon Dr Bhajekar too died. Heart broken Sudhir was compelled to head back to Kolhapur.
He taught music at classes now, and was enjoying doing these. He was being referred to as Babuji by everyone. But these were difficult times for him, specially financially. Somehow he survived them all, partly because he was getting recognition and awards for his singing and musiccompositions. As such, HMV found him out and gave him a job in music making. It is here that he came into contact with Snehal Bhatkar
, also working here, as well as with other personalities. He worked with HMV from 1943 to 1945.
In 1946, Prabhat gave hima break to make music in the Marathi film Gokul. The film's work had been started by Husnlal Bhagatram
, who had made two songs. At this time he also composed music with Snehal Bhatkar
in Rukmani Swayamwar. Again for Prabhat in 1947 he composed music for Aage Badho, where he gave Khursheed
several songs, including 'Saawan ki ghata dheere dheere aana..', and 'Taqdeer mein likha hai...'. One visitor to Poona used to be the singer Lalita Dewolkar who had sung many good songs. The two developed a relationship together and finally tied the knot in 1949.
He collected a great deal of awards over the years, but the high point of his life's work was in Marathi, even though it was translated into many languages. That was when Phadke came together with writer G D Madgulkar to compose music for the latters's Ramayana written in the form of some 50 plus songs. The composer himself rendered the version of Ram and this popular geet Ramayan wad aired on the radio for several weeks. Later, in 2002 was released his much acclaimed film on the life of the famous Veer Savarkar, who has a road named in his honour close to where the singer-composer lived at Shivaji Park, Bombay.
After an accident, Sudhir suffered a brain haemorrage and was admitted to Hinduja Hospital. He passed away on 29th July 2002. Unfortunately for us we did not get to hear too many of his compositions, barring the odd ones like 'Din hai suhana aaj pehli taareekh hai...' (Pehli Taareekh) and the raag Bhopali based 'Jyoti kalash chhalke...' (Bhabhi Ki Chudiyaan). He composed music for 20 odd Hindi films only, including some jointly with Snehal Bhatkar
Here is a list of Sudhir Phadke's Hindi films:
1947: Aage Badho
1948: Sita Swayamwar
1949: Apradhi, Jai Bheem, Maya Bazaar, Ram Pratiggya, Sant Janabai
1950: Shri Krishna Darshan
1951: Maalti Madhav, Murli Wala
1954: Pehli Taarikh, Ratna Ghar
1958: Gaj Gauri
1959: Gokul Ka Chor
1961: Bhabhi Ki Choodiyan
1962: Pyar Ki Jeet
1981: Sher Ke Shivaji
Contributed by: Mr. Manek Premchand
Author: Yesterday's Melodies Today's Memories