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Manik Varma

Singer
  • Real Name: Manik Balwant Dadarkar
  • Born: 16 May, 1926 (Pune)
  • Died: 10 November, 1996 (Mumbai)
  • Primary Cinema: Hindi
  • Spouse: Amar Varma
  • Children: Rani Varma, Aruna Jayprakash, Bharati Achrekar, Vandana Gupte
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Padma Shri Manik Varma was a multi-faceted virtuoso of Indian classical, semi-classical and light music. Born Manik Balwant Dadarkar on 16 May, 1926 she initially trained under Shri Bhope Guruji, followed by stalwarts such as Shri Sureshbabu Mane, Ustad Inayat Khan, Shri Bholanath Bhatt, and Pandit Jagannathbhuva Purohit of the Agra gharana. Considering Hirabai Bandodekar as her idol, Manik also absorbed her melodious and serene singing style of the Kirana gharana. Winning the hearts of music lovers from her first performance at age 13, she excelled not only in classical music but also in the genres of Marathi Bhavgeet, Bhaktigeet and Natyageet. Her songs became part of the Geet Ramayan, a weekly year-long programme by All India Radio (AIR), Pune, along with artists such as Lata Mangeshkar, and Sudhir Phadke. Besides the Padma Shri in 1974, she was also awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986. 

Rendering playback for films, she sang for films such as Hum Ek Hai (1946), Parda (1958), Umaj Padel Tar (1960) and Panchrati (1960), and also appeared onscreen in Een Meen Sadeteen (1954). 

A proponent of the Kirana and Agra gharana singing styles of pure classical khyal, Manik Varma also sang semi-classical and light music like thumri, and devotional music. Among her popular, evergreen bhavgeet are Savalach rang tuzha, Ghana nila ladivala, Wajavi pava Govind, Hasale mani chandane, and Tya chitta choratyala. Her famous bhajans include Amritahuni goad, Kaushalyecha Ram bai, Maal padak Vitthal, and Jani namyachi. Her Balgandharva style Natyasangeet such as Khara to prema, Nath ha mazha, Naravar Krisha saman, and Swakultarak suta remain a favourite with listeners. 

She went on to train students including Asha Khadilkar and Shaila Datar. 

Married to writer and lyricist Amar Varma, she is mother to four daughters, Rani Varma who is also a singer, Aruna Jayprakash, actress Bharati Achrekar, and Marathi stage, film and television actor Vandana Gupte

Manik Varma passed away on 10 November, 1996. The Manik Varma Pratishthan was established in Mumbai in her memory, which also presents Manik Ratna Award and scholarships. It also organises functions on her birth and death anniversary.

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