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Arun Date:, 'Shukratara' in real sense

Wednesday, May 09, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

(4 May 1934- 6 May 2018)

Veteran Marathi singer Arun Date, who recently passed away, was known for his iconic song "Shukratara” and with his velvety voice, can certainly be described as “Talat Mahmood” of Marathi music arena.

Date seemed to ascend the heavens when he hit the high notes in his full-throated style, reminiscent of Mahendra Kapoor. In fact, he was the first recipient of the Mahendra Kapoor Award in 2001-2002.

He shone like a venus (shukra in Marathi), which is the brightest object in the sky and a major fixture in human culture. It has also been a prime inspiration for writers and poets.

Born on May 4, 1934, Date took initial lessons in music from Kumar Gandharv at “Dhar” in Indore (Madhya Pradesh). Subsequently, he grew up under tutelage of K.Mahavir. His father Ramubhaiyya Date was a classical music connoisseur and part of Marathi literary and music circles. He was friendly with famous personalities like Kumar Gandharva, Pu La Deshpande, Va Pu Kale and encouraged his children, Arun and Ravi, to learn music.

He began singing regularly since 1955 on All India Radio (AIR). The song "Shukratara Mand Vara Chandane Panyatuni”,written by Mangesh Padgaonkar for which Srinivas Khale had scored the music, gave him instant recognition. It was adjudged as ‘song of the month’ by the AIR in 1962 and it remains one of the most popular songs in contemporary Marathi culture, even today. In 1962, he cut his first disc. He was first recipient of “Gajananrav Vatave Purskar” and was also awarded “Ram Kadam Kala Gaurav Puraskar”. The trio of Mangesh Padgaonkar, Yashwant Deo and Arun Date were famous that time.

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