Veteran music composer Vanraj Bhatia dies at 94


Vanraj Bhatia, who composed music for parallel film classics such as “Bhumika”, “Junoon”, “36 Chowringhee Lane” and “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro”, died at his home on Friday, according to a friend. He was 94 years old.

“I was in regular contact with him. His guardian informed me around 9 am that he had died. He was suffering from dementia, arthritis. He was bedridden for over a month,” music historian and friend Pavan Jha told PTI.

Bhatia lived alone in his apartment in Rungta Settlement Colony on Napean Sea Road.

Legend of the world of music, Bhatia leaves an impressive legacy through his compositions in films as varied as “Ajooba” and “Ankur”, but also on television.

“It provided the soundtrack of our childhood in the ’80s and’ 90s and with it we lost a legend,” lyricist-writer Varun Grover told PTI.

Vanraj Bhatia was the man behind some of the finest soundtracks in Indian parallel cinema. His wide range (Marathi folk in ‘Bhumika’ to Hindustani classic in ‘Sardari Begum’ to experimental cool in ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’) made it so one of the most exciting composers of this era, ”he said.

Born into a Kutchi business family in Mumbai, Bhatia began to learn music from an early age. He became interested in Western classical music as a teenager and began taking piano lessons.

After graduating from Elphinstone College, University of Bombay, in 1949, Bhatia studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was awarded a gold medal in 1954. He also trained in Paris .

Bhatia began her professional journey composing music for commercials. He made his film debut with director Shyam Benegal’s first film “Ankur” in 1974. It was the start of one of the most successful collaborations in Hindi film music, including “Bhumika”, “Manthan” and “Mandi”. Bhatia became the essential composer of the directors of the new wave of Indian film music of the 70s and 80s.

Bhatia won the National Film Award for Best Musical Direction for critically acclaimed Govind Nihalani Tamas and also composed for Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Aparna Sen’s 36 Chowringhee Lane, Saeed Akhtar Mirza Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho !, Kumar shahani Tarang and Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Khamosh

In addition, the Music Director composed the background music for mainstream Hindi films such as Ajooba, Damini and By and several TV shows including Khandaan, Wagle Ki Duniya, Banegi Apni Baat, Bharat Ek Khoj and Tamas. He was honored with the Padma Shri in 2012.

His last work was an opera titled “Agni Varsha” which was performed in New York.

The tributes arrived quickly and quickly.

“Shocked to learn of the passing of Vanraj Bhatia. Wagle ki Duniya, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, he leaves countless memories in his scores. My condolences to his relatives and fans,” said Union Minister Smriti Z Irani on Twitter.

Actor-director Farhan Akhtar paid tribute to Bhatia’s “brilliant” musical works. “RIP #VanrajBhatia … aside from the many other brilliant musical works he has created, I vividly remember the theme of ‘Tamas’ which began with a cry so filled with anguish it could send a shiver in anyone’s spine and break anyone’s heart, “he tweeted.

Lyricist and head of the censorship committee, Prasoon Joshi, said working with Bhatia was always a learning experience.

“I will always remember #VanrajBhatia as a very inspiring musician who constantly explored with his melodies and compositions. The recordings with him will be filled with new learning. You will live through your music,” he wrote. .

Filmmaker Hansal Mehta posted “RIP Maestro” and also shared a video of Bhatia’s old interview.

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