Bhimrao Panchale, a noted city-based Marathi ghazal singer and composer, who turns 60 today, will sing at a felicitation concert on Gudi Padwa, the Marathi new year, on April 4.
Vidarbha Lok Pratishthan, a non-profit voluntary organisation is felicitating him for popularising Marathi ghazals for nearly 40 years.
Originally from Amravati in Vidarbha, Panchale started singing as a child and at 16 dedicated himself to composing and singing ghazals.
“Urdu and Hindi influences are very common in colloquial speech in Vidarbha so it was natural for me to take to ghazals,” Panchale says. “When I met Suresh Bhat, [a respected Marathi ghazal writer] at the age of 15, I decided to sing ghazals in Marathi.”
Panchale, who has had nine years of formal training, gave his first concert in 1972 and has performed nearly 1,500 times all over Maharashtra. Legendary poet Mirza Ghalib and Pakistani singer Mehendi Hassan influence his work.
“Marathi ghazal-singing has a history of only 70 to 80 years and has a long way to go,” Panchale says. “I want children and youngsters to learn and appreciate the art.” He has organised around 90 workshops and national meets on Marathi ghazals.
Before making composing and singing a full-time career, Panchale worked at the All India Radio and a bank to support himself and his family. He moved to Mumbai 30 years ago and lives in Gorai with his wife, also a singer, and his daughter.
(Bhimrao Panchale will perform on April 4, 2011 at 5 pm at Ravindra Natya Mandir in Prabhadevi.)