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Sudhir Phadke birth anniversary: 6 impressive songs from the iconic composer


It's the 98th birth anniversary of the music director who gave us the evergreen 'Dehachi Tizori' number from Aamhi Zato Aamuchya Gava (1968).

Photo: YouTube screen-grab

Keyur Seta

Think Marathi devotional songs and among the first names to spring to mind is Sudhir Phadke. The popular singer-composer was an icon in the Marathi film industry with more than 100 films to his credit as music director. Of these, but for about 20, all were in Marathi. He is also revered for the epic Geet Ramayan, written by author-poet Gajanan Digambar Madgulkar and composed and sung by Phadke himself.

Today, on Sudhir Phadke's 98th birth anniversary (25 July), we revisit some of his impressive songs from Marathi cinema.

'Dehachi Tizori' – Aamhi Zato Aamuchya Gava (1968)

This has to be among the best Marathi devotional songs of all time and is still played at religious events in the lanes and bylanes of Maharashtra. In the film, the song has the salutary effect of preventing three ex-convicts from cleaning out the safe (tizori in Marathi) of the genteel businessman and his devout wife and daughter who had sheltered them despite having fallen on hard times.

'Daam Kari Kaam' – Daam Kari Kaam (1971)

The vasudevs are a community of travelling mendicants who spread the lore of Krishna while roaming the streets of Maharashtra, mostly on Thursdays. Through their songs they also provide little nuggets of life wisdom. This phenomenon is used to telling effect in the song ‘Daam Kari Kaam,’ where the vasudev narrates how people have become slaves to money. The song also highlights other evils besetting society like gambling, crime and fake godmen. 

Uddhava Ajab Tuze Sarkar – Jagachya Pathivar (1960)

The simple yet hard-hitting song takes a critical stand on government. Not just that, it holds up a mirror to the intellectual blindness prevalent in society. The song was written almost 60 years ago. Who would have thought that it would make complete sense even today, not just in India but around the world? Jagachya Pathivar is a lesser known film in which actor-director Raja Paranjpe played the main character who doesn’t have a name.

'Daan Dilyane Dnyan Vadhate' – Jotibacha Navas (1975)

Lyricist Jagdish Khebudkar is known for his songs with a strong rustic touch in films like Sadhi Manse (1965), Pinzara (1972), Saamna (1975) and Ashtavinayak (1979), but he also wrote this melodious and meaningful track for Jyotibacha Navas, picturized on the young Vikram Gokhale at the inauguration of a village school set up by a bandit. Sudhir Phadke's voice and music combine with the straightforward, meaningful lyrics to make ‘Daan Dilyane Dnyan Vadhate’ a soft yet powerful number which suggests that gifting knowledge only increases it.

'Vithu Mauli Tu' – Arre Saunsar Saunsar (1981)

The varkaris are a community of Vitthal worshippers who make the annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur in Solapur district on foot. Their songs usually have a fast tempo. But ‘Vithu Mauli Tu’ is a slow, melodious number which has serenity written all over. The sound of the cymbals (manjira) is unmistakable. The song is picturized on the main lead, Kuldeep Pawar, while it also features the late actress Ranjana.

'Patit Pavan Naam Aikuni' – Sant Gora Kumbhar (1967)

Dnyaneshwar, Namdeo and Tukaram are probably the most famous Bhakti saints to have emerged from Maharashtra. But the state gave us several other saints over the centuries, of whom Gora Kumbhar was a prominent one. His last name referred to his profession, that of a potter. Raja Thakur’s biopic on Gora Kumbhar had Kumar Dighe essaying the title role. The film also had Sulochana in a pivotal role. The pleasing devotional number ‘Patit Pavan Naam Aikuni’ defines the character of Gora Kumbhar.