Deenanath Mangeshkar (29 December 1900 – 24 April 1942) was a well-known Marathi theatre actor, a renowned Natya Sangeet musician and a Hindustani classical vocalist.
He is also the father of well-known singers Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, and Usha Mangeshkar as well as composers Hridaynath Mangeshkar and Meena Khadikar.
Deenanath Mangeshkar, popularly known as Dina, was born at Mangeshi, Goa on 29 December 1900. His father, Ganesh Bhatt Navathe (Abhisheki), was a Karhade Brahmin who served as priest at the famous Mangueshi Temple in Goa. The original surname of his family was “Hardikar,” but because the family had the traditional privilege of performing the Abhishekam ceremony for the Shiva lingam of the Mangueshi Temple, they came to be known by the surname “Abhisheki.” However, Deenanath did not inherit either of the two surnames of his father’s family. This is because his mother Yesubai (sometimes referred to as Yesubai Rane) belonged to the Devadasi community of Goa, which is now known as Gomantak Maratha Samaj. Since the family lived in Mangeshi village in Goa, and Deenanath was born there, he was given the surname “Mangeshkar,” which means “of Mangesh.” Incidentally, Mangesh is the name of the deity worshipped in the Mangueshi Temple.
As a Devadasi, Yesubai often sang and danced at temple events and festivals. She is said to have had an erring genius for music. Dinanath’s father surname was Hardikar whose family bathed(see:Abhishekam) the Linga of lord Shiva at Mangueshi temple, thus they were known as Abhishekis. Dinanath adopted the surname Mangeshkar which means from the village of Mangeshi in Marathi. The father of the renowned Indian vocalist Jitendra Abhisheki was Deenanath’s half-brother.
Deenanath Mangeshkar started taking singing and music lessons from Shri Baba Mashelkar at the age of five. He was also to become a disciple at Gwalior school. He was fascinated by the variety & aggressive style of Gayanacharya Pt Ramkrishna bua Vaze and became gandabandh shagird. In his youth, he travelled to Bikaner and took formal training in classical music from Pt. Sukhdev Prasad, father of Pt. Mani Prasad, of the Kirana Gharana. He joined the Kirloskar Sangeet Mandali and the Kirloskar Natak Mandali at the age of 11. Later, he left Kirloskar Mandali, and formed Balwant Mandali with his friends Chintamanrao Kolhatkar and Krishnarao Kolhapure. This new group had Gadkari’s blessing, but shortly after the group was formed, Gadkari died in January 1919.
Deenanath’s good looks and melodious voice won him popularity on the Marathi theatre. So much so that the then giant of the Marathi stage, Bal Gandharva publicly declared that he would welcome the entry of Deenanath in his organisation “by throwing a carpet of rupee coins under his feet“.
During the period of 1935, he produced 3 films, one of them being Krishnarjun Yuddha. It was made in both Hindi and Marathi, and a song from it, sung by and filmed on Dinanath. Dinanath also studied Indian classical music under Ramkrishna Vaze. He also studied astrology.
Partly out of his interest in astrology and numerology, he believed that dramas with 5 letters, with anuswar on the third letter, were lucky for him. Examples : Ranadundubhi (रणदुंदुभी), Rajsanyas (राजसंन्यास), Deshkantak (देशकंटक).
He was the first musician to openly defy the British Empire by performing and singing songs penned by Veer Savarkar in the presence of the British Viceroy, in Simla.
The dramas produced by Dinanath were extremely popular amongst the masses due to his masterly presentation of the songs composed by Vaze bua and the patriotic content.
Deenanath’s first wife was Narmada (later renamed “Shrimati” by her in-laws). She was the daughter of Seth Haridas Ramdas Lad – a prosperous businessman of the town of Thalner(between Dhule and Jalgaon(Khandesh), Maharashtra. Dinanath and Narmada were married in 1922. Dinanath changed his wife’s name to ‘Shrimati’. She was 19 at the time and Dinanath was 21.
They had a daughter named Latika, who died in her infancy. Deenanath’s wife died shortly after.
Deenanath’s second wife was his first wife’s sister. Her name was Shevanti. Some sources claim that Dinanath named his second wife ‘Shrimati’ as well. Some have her name as ‘Shuddhamati’.
The marriage of Deenanath and Shevanti was solemnised at a quiet ceremony within the house in 1927. Shevanti’s mother chose not to attend.
Deenanath and his second wife had five children: Lata, Meena, Asha, Usha, and Hridaynath.
Their first child was named Hridaya. But Deenanath called her Lata in memory of his deceased daughter. The name stuck and it is by that name that his legendary eldest daughter, Lata Mangeshkar, is known today.
Deenanath was determined to take his first step in his professional life with a distinctive surname. So, he chose the last name Mangeshkar. The surname was derived from name of his family deity –Shri Mangesh (an Avatar of Lord Shiva) located at Mangeshi, Ponda, Goa.
Deenanath took to alcohol during the days of financial hardship in 1930s. After being ill for a few weeks, he died in Pune in April 1942. He was only 41 at the time his death.
His family has erected a Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital and research center in his name in Pune.
Some of his theatrical productions, in which he sang and starred too, are
- Manapaman (मानापमान) (written by K.P. Khadilkar)
- Ranadundubhi (रणदुंदुभी) (written by Veer Vamanrao Joshi)Music composed by Vaze buwa
- Punyaprabhaav (पुण्यप्रभाव)
- Sanyasta Khadga (संन्यस्त खड्ग) (written by Veer Savarkar)Music composed by Vaze buwa
- Rajsanyaas (राजसंन्यास) (written by Ram Ganesh Gadkari)
- Deshkantak (देशकंटक)
- Ram Rajya Viyog (रामराज्य वियोग)