MUMBAI: Renowned music director of yesteryear, Ravi Shankar Sharma, popular called as 'Ravi' passed away here late Wednesday night, according to family sources.
He was 86 and had been ailing since some time when he breathed his last at his Santacruz residence.
He is survived by his estranged son Ajay and daughter-in-law Varsha Usgaonkar, a leading Marathi and Hindi film actress.
Ravi lost his wife in 1988, and hit the headlines when there was a family dispute over a property issue last year.
His end came just four days after he celebrated his 86th birthday among a few friends and relatives.
"Ravi was noted for his heart-touching, soft, melodious tunes, which made his songs and music immortal and is hummed even today, decades after he composed them. Plus, he was a very fine gentleman, and a great human being," said an old friend A. Krishnamurthi, among the leading former film-makers of Bollywood.
His top compositions include movies like: Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Nazrana, Humraaz, Waqt, Neelkamal, Gumraah, Do Badan, Aurat, China Town, Khandaan, Gharana, Dhund, Aankhen, Kaajal, Ek Phool Do Mali, Nikaah among scores others.
Some of his memorable songs include: "Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho," "Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai," "Neele Gaganke Tale, "Baabulki Duaaen Leti Ja," "Doli Chadhke Dulhan Sasural Chali," "O Meri Zohra Jabin, Tujhe Malum Nahin," "Uljhan Suljhe Na," "Tujhe Suraj Kahoo Ya Chanda," and "Chhu Lenedo Nazuk Hothon Ko," to cite a few of his 200 top hits.
A favourite with the Chopras, both Yash Chopra and B. R. Chopra, Ravi directed music for many of their earlier films, and much later for B. R. Chopra's blockbuster 'Nikaah'.
Ravi, by his meticulous compositions and selection of suitable singers, is credited of moulding voices like Asha Bhosle and Mahendra Kapoor, catapulting them among the top singers of the era, and giving them an independent singing identity.
Often described as the 'King of Soft Melodies,' Ravi was born in Delhi March 3, 1926, and shifted to Mumbai in 1950 to achieve his dream of becoming a playback singer in the then fledgling film industry.
However, after years of initial struggle, with little or no resources, including sleeping on Malad railway station or on footpaths, he was finally 'discovered' by the late music director Husnalal Bhagatram and singer-music director Hemant Kumar to get a toehold in the slippery film industry.
Seeing his early days of struggle, Ravi's father, a bhajan singer sent him Rs.40 per month, and arranged a small accommodation for him in the congested Kalbadevi in south Mumbai.
Ravi made the best of it to survive there on just half-a rupee per day in the early 1950s and vigorously pursued of making it big in Bollywood as a singer.
Later, it was the legendary Guru Dutt who gave the first big break to Ravi to compose music for "Chaudhvin Ka Chand", since then there was no looking back for him.
Ravi continued to move from strength to strength with powerful compositions and great music and ultimately became a legend in his own right.