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Master composer passes away

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
By Amarendra Dhaneshwar

Yashwant Deo, the veteran music composer who passed away yesterday at the ripe age of 92 was indeed the last of Romans. He was one of the  eminent composers of the bygone era. His contemporaries like Sudhir Phadke, Vasant Prabhu and Shrinivas Khale had already passed into history years ago. Although Deo had retired from the composing scene, he was active on the public platform giving lectures and also offering guidance to young and aspiring singers.

Deo hailed from Pen in the old Colaba district (Raigad). He learned classical music and wanted to become a sitar player. His role models for the sitar were Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan andVilayat Khan. That dream did not materialize but he turned to composing and found work in the All India Radio. AIR was one of the most accomodative sanctuaries of music and musicians in those days. The Bhavgeet, was a recently born but very popular form of music which captivated listeners all over the country. Deo roped in singers of the caliber of Asha Bhosale, Lata Mangeshkar, Suman Kalyanpur and Arun Date for  songs written by good lyricists like Mangesh Padgaonkar, Ramesh Anavkar and others.

Many of them were based on classical ragas like Madhuvanti (Madhuvantichya Surasuratun), Tuze Geet Ganyasathi Sur Lavude (Bhimplasi), 'Swargangechya Kathavarti' (Marwa). These songs have an eternal charm about them. He also worked for films. Songs like 'Jeevanatli Ghadi' (Lata Mangeshkar) and 'Tu Najarene Ho Mhatle' (Sudhir Phadke/Asha) are still savoured by the audiences with ardour.

As a composer, Deo always looked up to Anil Biswas as his guide and source of inspiration.

He sought to form a proper theory of light or word oriented music entitled 'Shabdpradhan' gayaki and toured the length and breadth of the country to explain and demonstrate his concepts.

He had a good and lively sense of humor which made his presentations extremely lively. He also trained a number of young singers in the technique of singing such songs.With his passing away, an era has come to an end.

Music Director Sridhar Phadke said, “His compositions will be remembered for several years since they had a very long shelf life. To make immortal compositions like the one he made will be a real Shruddhanjali to him. Veteran Sudhir Phadke (Babuji) had provided playback to his quite a few songs. I had opportunity to sing his nine songs. Bhavgeet was his masterly creation. Songs like Ashi Pakhare Yeti, Priya Aaj Majhi Nase Sath Dyaya, Kadhi Bahar Kadhi Shishir and Are Deva Tujhi Mule will always be remembered. We have lost a most talented composer.”

Music Director Avinash Prabhawalkar adds, “Deosaheb was the most simple man who had no inhibitions. He had the best command over words. Recently, he had also written a book. The credit of translating some of the Hindi songs of Anil Vishwas into Marathi goes to him. In fact, he considered Anil Vishwas as his Guru. He had positive approach towards everything. We had celebrated his 60th, 80th and 90th birthday through our organization Hridayesh Arts. Usually, a jovial man, it is surprising that he passed away due to sudden illness….RIP.”

 (with inputs from Raju Vernekar)

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