Died: June 8, 2007
The melancholic song Mata o mata, jo tu aaj hoti, mujhe yun tadapta agar dekhti, tera dil toot jata was written by poet Shailendra for Raj Kapoor's under-production film Ab Dilli Door Nahin. Despite various attempts at setting the tune for this song Raj Kapoor just wasn't happy. That's when Shankar Jaikishan (SJ)'s assistant Dattaram hummed a tune set to Bhairavi on jhaptaal rhythm and Raj Kapoor instantly fancied it. Raj Kapoor told Dattararn to set the music and tune for this song and also proclaimed that Dattaram would be the fourth music director for the RK banner. The first three were Ram Ganguli, Shankar Jaikishan (SJ) and Salil Choudhary. Ab Dilli Door Nahin was a film under RK banner though Raj Kapoor neither acted nor directed it and Dattaram was amply backed and supported by Shankar himself. In 1957 Jiyo lal mere tum lakhon baras.. sung by none other than Lata Mangeshkar announced the arrival of Dattaram as a music director - arguably the youngest in the Hindi film industry. While Mata o mata... was recorded in the voice of Sudha Malhotra, Asha Bhosale (+ chorus) lent her voice for Ye chaman hamara apna hai.
Dattaram Lakshman Wadkar was born in 1933 in Pedne - a village in Goa. The urge to pursue music as a career was at the back of his mind even in the early formative years as he was drawn to music in all its forms. He came to Bombay with his mother in 1942. Girgaum was his base. He undertook odd jobs to keep himself afloat. He enrolled himself as a disciple of Pt. Pandharinath Nageshkar - an acclaimed Tabla maestro. He also undertook Indian classical music lessons from Pt. Yashwantbua Kerkar. With an introduction by Pt. Yashwantbua Kerkar, Dattaram assisted Sajjad Hussein briefly for about three months.
A regular at a gymnasium near Opera House, Dattaram met Shankar (of the SJ duo). Both, Shankar & Jaikishan were employed as musicians with Prithvi Theatre at Opera House and at that time were also assisting music director Ram Ganguli in Aag - an under production movie of Raj Kapoor. In the gymnasium Shankar would, at times practice on his Harmonium and once Dattaram got a chance and accompanied on the Tabla. Realizing the potential in Dattaram, Shankar recommended him to Prithvi Theatre and thus began the association with Prithvi Theatre. In those days during the interval, a few well-known artistes would perform music. In the initial stage Dattaram would accompany Sitarist Ram Ganguli or Shehnai-Ustaad Ramlal and soon was contributing to the music of the main dramas of Prithvi Theatre.