Padgaonkar was born on 10 March 1929 in Vengurla, Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra. He received a Master of Arts degree in Marathi and Sanskrit from the University of Bombay. He taught Marathi at Matushree Mithibai College in Mumbai for several years, and then during the 1970–1990 period served as an editor at the US Information Service (USIS), both in Mumbai. He also worked as an assistant editor at the Sadhana (weekly) for some time.
Padgaonkar started writing poems at the age of 14 and has 40 publications to his credit, most published by the publishing house Mouj Prakashan. While his first few books were collections of romantic poetry, he later published books in other genres including poetry for children, poetry reflecting socio-political issues, collection of essays and translations from English and other languages. The US Library of Congress has acquired 31 of his publications. The break from romantic poetry occurred in the collection "Salaam", which includes the poem of the book title that skewers the corrupt societal power structure around him. His books written for children include "Sutti Eke Sutti" and his collection of essays is called "Nimbonichya Zaadamage". Along with Vinda Karandikar and Vasant Bapat, Padgaonkar travelled across Maharashtra in the 1960s and 1970s reciting poetry. He was also a member of a Marathi literary group, “Murgi club”, loosely fashioned after the Algonquin Round Table. In addition to Padgaonkar, it included Vinda Karandikar, Vasant Bapat, Gangadhar Gadgil, Sadanand Rege and Shri Pu Bhagwat. They met every month for several years to eat together, engaging each other in wordplay and literary jokes.
Awards and recognition
- Sahitya Academy Award in 1980 for his collection of poems Salam
- The M.P. Literary Conference Award in 1956,
- The Maharashtra State Award in 1953 and 1955.
- Maharashtra Bhushan Award in year 2008.
- "Jeevan Sadhana Gaurav Puraskar" by University of Pune, 2012
- Padma Bhushan in 2013.
- Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad Puraskar in 2013