Bhatkar had been battling cancer for a long time. According to a source at the hospital, the actor was admitted a few days ago as his health had begun to fail.
He made his Marathi film debut with Chandoba Chandoba Bhaglaas Ka (1978) and played the lead role in the superhit Maherchi Saadi (1991).
He was famous for television roles in detective serials like Hello Inspector and Damini on Doordarshan in the early 1990s. But theatre was his first love, and he played lead roles in numerous plays over the years, including Denaryaache Haath Hazaar (1980), Ooghadale Swargache Daar (1982) and Shadyantra (1991).