Veteran music composer Vanraj Bhatia died in Mumbai yesterday after a brief illness. The 93-year-old Padma Shri awardee, who scored the music for Shyam Benegal classics like ‘Ankur’ and ‘Bhumika’ and TV series ‘Yatra’ and ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ lived alone at his apartment at the Napean Sea Road in Mumbai. After graduating from the Elphinstone College in Mumbai, he trained in western classical music in London and Paris.
On returning home, he joined the advertising world, working for a phenomenal 6,000 ad jingles. He created the soundtracks for Aparna Sen’s ‘36 Chowringhee Lane’ and Kundan Shah’s ‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’. His last work was an opera titled ‘Agni Varsha’ which was performed in New York.
Among the awards he won are the National Award for Best Music for Govind Nihalani’s TV series ‘Tamas’ and also the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He received India’s fourth-highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri in 2012.