Surkar was born on 19 August 1959 at Deoli in Wardha district of Maharashtra state. He earned his Bachelor of Commerce degree from G. S. Commerce College in 1983. From the Nagpur University he took his Bachelors and Masters in Fine Arts specialising in Dramatics.
Surkar entered into entertainment industry from the theatre medium. Brought up in Nagpur, he worked with numerous plays doing back stage works as well as acting in his school and college days. In Nagpur, he worked on many plays for children. While still doing his Bachelor in Fine Arts from Nagpur University, Surkar along with actor Girish Oak and Pramod Bhusari conducted various workshops. Surkar then moved to Mumbai and continued his theatre work with commercial plays like Chafa Bolena, Preetisangam and Tu Fakta Ho Mhan. His plays like Vansh, Bonsai, No Exit, The Wall, etc. made to various state level competitions. He was first introduced to television through the serial No Problem, where he received his first chance to work with film medium. He got an opportunity to assist director Kanchan Nayak in the 1989 Marathi film Kalat Nakat. Produced by Smita Talwalkar, the film handled the delicate topic of extra-marital affair, its effects on families and children. The film ended with the positive message of keeping the family-ties together and won the National Film Award in the Best Marathi film category. The film also marked the beginning of Surkar-Talwalkar team which would create many films and television shows in future.
In 1991, Surkar directed his first independent feature film Chaukat Raja that was produced by Smita Talwalkar under her banner "Asmita Chitra". This family drama was a journey of a mentally challenged boy Nandu. While playing on swings in childhood along with his friend Minal, Nandu hurts his head and is disabled. Nandu grows up into a man, played by Dilip Prabhavalkar, but still considers himself a child. Sulabha Deshpande played the role of his mother and elder Minal's role was played by Talwalkar. Prabhavalkar received Best Actor award granted by the Government of Maharashtra and with critical acclaims to the film, Surkar was noticed as a director.
In 1993 when Talwalkar produced her first directorial venture Sawat Mazhi Ladki, Surkar assisted her in direction. The comedy drama plot showed a 40 plus married doctor, played by Mohan Joshi, falling for his 20 something assistant doctor. The assistant doctor's role was played by Varsha Usgaonkar and Neena Kulkarni portrayed the role of doctor's housewife. His next project Aaplee Maanse (1993) was a family drama film with an ensemble cast of many notable actors of the Marathi film industry that included Prashant Damle, Mohan Joshi, Sudhir Joshi, Sachin Khedekar, Reema Lagoo, Dilip Prabhavalkar, Ashok Saraf and Renuka Shahane. In 1994 he directed Yadna which received seven awards at the Maharashtra State Film Award.
In the following years, Surkar directed three notable films of his career. Rao Saheb (1996), Tu Tithe Mee (1998) and Gharabaher (1999) won him National Film Awards as director of Best Marathi feature films. Rao Saheb was a story of local politics in Maharashtra. Tu Tithe Mee was a story of an old couple, played by Mohan Joshi and Suhas Joshi, coping with their next-gen family and was produced by Talwalkar. The film was later adopted in Hindi as Baghban (2003). The 1999 film Gharabaher dealt with the topic of hypocrisy towards women and problems in their empowerment. For giving the "wonderfully controlled performance" of a corrupt politician in the film, Mohan Joshi was presented with a Special Jury Award at the 47th National Film Awards. Mrinal Kulkarni also received Maharashtra State Film Award for Best Actress for her role in this film.
In 2004, the Surkar-Talwalkar team brought to viewers Saatchya Aat Gharat, a film that questioned western culture's influence on teenagers. Surkar also went on to direct films on various social issues. His 2009 film Sukhant was a struggle story of an old woman who meets a car accident which puts her in tetraplegia. To end her life with dignity and save troubles of her family, she pleads for euthanasia. Jyoti Chandekar played the lead role in the film, while Atul Kulkarni and Kavita Lad played supporting leads. In 2011, Surkar debuted in Bollywood with the film Stand By. With lead roles played by Siddharth Kher and Adinath Kothare, the plot was about the internal politics in football. The film did not do well at the box-office.
Apart from films, Surkar continued his work through television serials, both in Marathi and Hindi. In Marathi he directed shows like Noopur, Sukanya and Un Paus. The show Avantika with Mrinal Kulkarni playing the title lead role, won numerous awards for her and made her a household name. In 2009, he directed the Hindi television show Aapki Antara which was about a 5-year-old girl Antara who is suffering from Autism. In 2010 he went on to produce the TV show Dhoondh Legi Manzil Humein, which was loosely based on his film Gharabaher.
Surkar had also conceived a film on the life of freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak.
He died on 27 September 2012 of a sudden heart attack while on the sets of his upcoming film Laathi. The film was debut for actress Padmini Kolhapure as a producer and was later directed by Mahesh Aney. He was also working on the script of an upcoming film to be directed by Nitin Chandrakant Desai on the life of Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak.National Film Awards
44th National Film Awards for 1996 – Rao Saheb – As director in Best Feature Film in Marathi category
Shared with producers K. B. Joshi and Ravindra Surve
46th National Film Awards for 1998 – Tu Tithe Mee – As director in Best Feature Film in Marathi category
Shared with producer Smita Talwalkar
47th National Film Awards for 1999 – Gharabaher – As director in Best Feature Film in Marathi category
Shared with producers Ratan Madan and Narendra Shinde
1992 – Maharashtra State Film Award for Best Film to Aaplee Maanse