7th Yudhvir Memorial Award
Late Vithal Rao
For his outstanding service to ghazal gayaki by Hon’ble Bandaru Dattatreya, Union Minister of State for Urban Development
Vithal Rao Aatmaram Shivpurkar, popularly known as Vithal Rao or Guruji, was born in 1929 in Hyderabad and began participating in children’s programmes by All India Radio from the age of 7 years. Trained in Hindustani classical music by Pt. Laxman Rao Panchopati, Ustad Shafi-uz-Zaman and Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan, he also received training in Ghazal singing by Shri M.A Raoof.
Pandit Vithal Rao is counted as a ghazal maestro and performed before several members of the Royal Family. He also had the honour of being last court singer of the Last Nizam of Hyderabad, H.E.H Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi. He performed before him at King Kothi Palace in 1943.
He has participated in a number of events organized by the State and Central Governments where Presidents, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers and other government officials were present.
Guruji also contributed his craft to the film world with H.M.V music company and composed music for three Telugu and two Hindi films. He headlined a number of ghazal programmes for celebrities such as Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Naushad and more. In addition to performing extensively in India, Guruji also held ghazal events in Kuwait, Toronto, New York and other parts of the USA.
He started a music school in 1989 “Sangeet Sadhana” in Hyderabad which trains a number of boys and girls, several of whom have become professional singers.
Pandit Vithal Rao passed away on 25th June 2015.