Music Director Vanraj Bhatia Dies at 93
Celebrated and exemplary music director, Vanraj Bhatia, passed away on Friday, 7th May 2021. He was 93 and was facing age related health issues due to which he was bed ridden for the last few months. A recipient of the National Award for Best Music Direction (Tamas) and the Padma Shri, Vanraj Bhatia was one of the leading composers of Western classical music in India.
Born and brought up in Bombay (now Mumbai), he studied composition from Royal Academy of Music, London and received a gold medal. He bettered his music abilities further at Conservatoire de Paris. He made debut in the Film music industry with The Householder (1963), where he scored the background music. As a full fledged music director his first film was Shyam Benegal’s Ankur (1974). His partnership with Shyam Benegal remains unparalleled in the mid stream/art cinema which continued with films like Manthan, Bhumika, Sardari Begum, Sooraj Ka Saatvan Ghoda, Hari Bhari, etc. Rest of his repertoire has some outstanding films like 36 Chowranghee Lane, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Hip Hip Hurray, Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho. Television series – Wagle ki Duniya, Tamas, Khandan, Katha Sagar, Bharat Ek Khoj and many more documentaries and jingles.
It is an irony that a Padma Shri recipient and a music director of his calibre has died a penniless and a lonely death!!