The veteran music composer Shrinivas Khale, popularly known as Khale Kaka, who composed songs such as Gori Gori Pan, and Shukratara Manda Vara, passed away due to age-related ailments at his Thane residence on Friday.
He was 85. Khale is survived by his wife and three daughters. Veterans of the music industry and local politicians attended his funeral held in Thane on Friday afternoon.
“Whichever genre Khale handled — be it children’s songs, bhavgeet or energetic songs such as Jai Jai Maharashtra Maza, his songs became milestones,” said Ravindra Sathe, a veteran singer. “His contribution to children’s songs was invaluable. His music was original and not influenced by anyone.”
Winner of the Padma Bhushan Award (2010) and various state honours such as the Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar, he composed for more than 1,000 songs and just six films in his career spanning over four decades.
Born in 1926, Khale spent his childhood in Baroda. He learnt from Pandit Madhusudan Joshi and Nisar Hussein Khan and Ustad Faiyaz Hussein Khan. Khale came to Mumbai and worked at the All India Radio as a music director in the early fifties.
He later joined HMV and worked largely in the area of Bhavgeet, where poems are composed to semi-classical music.
Khale composed songs written in various languages such as Gujarati, Bengali, Sanskrit and Hindi and also directed Lata Mangeshkar and Pandit Bhimsen Joshi for a devotional album Ram Shyam Gun Gaan in 2002.
“Years ago, we both used to travel together by the local train to Akashvani radio station,” said veteran poet Mangesh Padgaonkar.
“On these train journeys, I would recite two lines of my new poem for him and he used to sit quietly during the entire journey without saying anything. On reaching our destination, he would make me listen to the tune he had composed for my poem. He had his own style and never followed the trend.”
Known for his love for poetry, he always brought out the essence of the words through his unique compositions such as Shravanat ghan neela barasla (in Shravan, the blue cloud poured) rendered by Lata Mangeshkar.
As he was an exponent of the Agra gharana, his music had elements of “laykari”, which added ease and subtlety to his compositions, singer Devaki Pandit explained.
His warmth and optimism was inspiring young singers said. “He had many health problems but he was always working,” Pandit said.
“He always welcomed young musicians affectionately and helped them learn.”