The Padma is late, but welcome: Suresh Wadkar


Suresh Wadkar, who has sung for several films like ‘Sadma’, ‘Henna’, ‘Parinda’ and ‘Utsav’, may be elated to have received the Padma Shri recently, but he does feel that it should have been conferred on him much earlier.

“Der aye, par durust aye.I am thankful to the government, my listeners and teachers,” he tells IANS.

For someone who has worked with major music directors, including Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Ilaiyaraja, and sings in Hindi, Marathi and Bhojpuri films as well as in Odia, working in multiple languages is always exciting as it involves “living with the language”.

“There is research, and there is spending time with the language so as to ensure an authentic sound and pronunciation. Of course, the lyrics in other languages are also written in Devanagari. But before attempting to sing any number, it is important for me to completely understand what the song wants to convey.”

Even as India is witnessing multiple training institutes in music, including Tier-2 and 3 cities, the singer is pleased that efforts are being made by private institutes to not just impart training but also propagate music.

“It is great to know that youngsters are excited about this art form. While many students aim for a career in this, there are some who want to understand music by learning it. In both cases, music is the ultimate winner.”

All praise for the numerous talent shows on television, Wadkar feels that they have been instrumental in introducing a host of new talent which may have missed recognition.

“And look at the young children who are also part of these programmes. It is a delight to see their potential.”

Remembering his early years in the industry, when recordings involved big orchestras, the singer laments that while technology may have made things easier, the quality has suffered.

“Not to mention, it tends to overpower natural sounds.”

The singer, who was hospitalized for 10 days owing to Covid, says that barring that time, during the entire period of lockdown, he kept himself busy.

“I would be in my studio and record songs by legends like Lata Mangeshkar , Kishore Kumar, Rafi , Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, Mehdi Hasan and others. In fact, I have been thinking of releasing them on YouTube in the near future.”

Besides playback singing, Wadkar has also been keeping himself busy with training students. I am quite enjoying training the next generation of singers. It is really heartening to see such talented youngsters.