One of the finest jewels in the crown of Hindustani classical and light music; a doyen of Kirana Gharana, who became a multi-faceted virtuoso of Indian classical music, semi-classical music, Thumri, Natya Sangeet and light music with her rigorous training, devotion and determination; an eminent singer who earned a steadfast place in the hearts of music lovers with her mellifluous and sonorous voice - "Padmashri Manik Varma".
Manik Balwant Dadarkar was born on May 16th, 1926 to Smt. Hirabai Dadarkar and Shri. Balwant Dadarkar. Little Manik was deeply fascinated by music. Her keen interest in music was recognized by her mother. She envisioned that her daughter would one day fulfil her own unfulfilled dream of becoming a singer. With her great efforts, numerous sacrifices and undeviating encouragement, she literally shaped up the future of Manik, who indeed went on to become a highly trained and recognised singer.
Manik acquired her initial training in music from Shri. Bhope Guruji at Bharatiya Gayan Samaj, Pune. The foundation of her classical music solidified further as she started receiving valuable training under the able tutelage of great stalwarts such as Shri. Sureshbabu Mane, Ustad Inayat Khan, Shri Bholanath Bhatt and Pandit Jagannathbuva Purohit. Manik considered Smt. Hirabai Barodekar of Kirana Gharana as her idol and absorbed the melodious and serene singing style of Kirana Gharana into her singing. She also blended nuances from the singing styles of various artists with her singing and developed her own unique style. She won the hearts of music lovers since her first ever public performance at the tender age of 13, till her last.
Her innocent and mellifluous voice, her commitment to music and the politeness in her persona gained her immense love and respect of millions of music lovers in Maharashtra and all over India. She excelled not only in classical music, but also in genres such as Marathi Bhavgeet, Bhaktigeet and Natyageet, thus creating an inseparable bond with the Marathi audiences. Even today, many of her immortal Marathi Bhavgeets such as "Savalach Rang Tuzha", "Ghana Nila Ladivala", "Wajavi Pava Govind", "Hasale Mani Chandane", "Tya Chitta Choratyala", Bhajans such as "Amrutahuni Goad", "Kaushalyecha Ram Bai", "Maal Padak Vitthal", "Jani Namyachi" and Balagandharva style Natyageets such as "Khara To Prema", "Nath Ha Mazha", "Naravar Krisha Saman", "Swakultarak Suta" have remained deep-rooted in the hearts of Marathi listeners.
Her ability to aptly and effortlessly unfold the emotions in the compositions through her mellifluous singing was very well acknowledged and appreciated by music lovers and contemporary stalwarts alike.
Numerous prestigious awards including "Sangeet Natak Academy Puraskar", "Maharastra Gaurav", "Ga. Di. Ma. Puraskar", Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar" and "Padma Shri" - the civilian award in India were bestowed upon this great artist who believed that the love, affection, appreciation and blessings of the music lovers were equally important. She truly deserved all the love and affection not just because she was a great singer, but also because of her well-mannered, humble and loving personality.
She became a loving and caring wife after getting married to renowned writer and lyricist Shri. Amar Varma. A loving mother of four accomplished daughters, an adorable grandmother to her grand children, she was an equally successful and loving family person, a happy, pleasing and respectable personality.