Dattaram Wadkar was a prominent music director in Hindi films, credited with many hits. He was born and grew up in Goa and moved to Bombay in 1942. After moving to Bombay, he started taking tabla lessons from his first guru Pandit Pandharinath Nageshkar and later on from Pandit Yashvant Kelkar. In fact, it was Pandit Kelkar who introduced him to Hindi films as an assistant to music director Sajjad. However, it was a chance meeting with Shankar (of Shankar - Jaikishan) at a gym, that opened up a world of opportunities to him. He joined Shankar - Jaikishan’s team as an assistant in their debut film "Barsaat" (1949) and continued to assist them right upto "Mera Naam Joker" (1970).
When Raj Kapoor approached Shankar - Jaikishan for "Ab Dili Door Nahin" (1957), they recommended Dattaram Wadkar and assured Raj Kapoor that they would help Dattaram if required. This is how Dattaram Wadkar got his first film as a solo music director. His background as a tabla/dholak player, helped him compose an lively rhythm for "Chhun Chhun Karti Aayi Chidiya" which became famous as the “Dattaram theka” in film circles.
Dattaram’s most well-known work came the next year with "Parvarish" (1957), specifically the song "Aansoo Bhari Hai Yeh Jeevan Ki Raahen". He went on to compose many other films like "Qaidi No. 911" (1959), "Shriman Satyawadi" (1960) and his last film as music director "Ek Din Aadhi Raat" (1971).
While assisting Shankar - Jaikishing and composing his own music, Dattaram Wadkar also assisted other music directors like Salil Chowdhury, Kalyanji - Anandji, Laxmikant - Pyarelal and Roshan and also played tabla and dholak for them.
In his later years, Dattaram Wadkar developed a few medical complications and passed away at the age of 78 on June 8, 2007.