Life Without ” Rhythm House ” & ” Cafe Samovar “


RHYTHM HOUSE at Kala Ghoda

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           November 28, 2018           01.30 P.M. 

 

On November 29, 2015 I read in the newspapers that RHYTHM HOUSE ” , the iconic music shop at Kala Ghoda area of south Mumbai , is going to be closed.

It finally got closed in February 2016.

What is so special that even after 2 years I am forced by emotions to write about this shop. After all it was just a shop.

Today’s generation can’t imagine it’s importance. It was lifeline of Mumbai’s cultural world. Long before Bombay became Mumbai, it was a must visit place for all the connoisseurs and aficionados of music world. In Bombay city of early 70s, 80s and 90s , it was a happening place , where all the connoisseurs of music used to descend every day.

Interior of Iconic RHYTHM HOUSE

 

There are talks to revive this place but in today’s world, when you can download any song for free , who will go and buy LP, EP, records, cassettes and CDs.

I have so many fond memories of this place. Though I didn’t have much money those days but still I used to go there to buy cassettes and CDs of old Hindi films, old songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Bengali songs, Robindro Sangeet and song of  Elvis Presley. Alas! those days are just memory.

Rhythm House is not alone. In the same year when it got closed, another iconic south Mumbai place CAFE SAMOVAR also got close in March 2015. Started by Usha Khanna in 1964, Cafe Samovar in Jehangir Art Gallery has been an icon of Mumbai’s cultural landscape for decades.

One by one all the iconic places of old Bombay are becoming memories. After Bombay became Mumbai, I feel there is no love lost for old icons of the city. I feel sad . Government of the day should try to preserve the heritage of old city.

The new Mumbai doesn’t mean that old Bombay should fade away from the landscape.

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Kekoo Gandhy : A connoisseur Par Excellence


 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 11 , 2012           11.20 P.M.

Kekoo Gandhy, co-founder of Mumbai’s Gallery Chemould , one of the oldest commercial art galleries of India , passed away in Mumbai on November 10 , 2012 . He was 92 at the time of his death .

He , along with his wife Khorshed , opened his Gallery Chemould in 1963 at the first floor of Jehangir Art Gallery . Last month on October 17 , 2012 , Jehangir Art Gallery completed 60 years of its existence . It is ironical that Kekoo Gandhy died within a month of this historic event .

jahangir art gallery

Jahangir Art Gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have written a blog about the 60th year of Jehangir Art Gallery . I am posting the link :

60 Years of Jahangir Art Gallery http://wp.me/ptyXI-2nj

Kekoo Gandhy is considered one of the most significant figures in shaping India’s modern art . He established Chemould Frames, his frame manufacturing business through which he started his association with Mumbai’s first group of post-modern painters like ; Maqbool Fida  Husain , Syed Haider Raza , Tyeb Mehta and Kattingeri Krishna Hebbar , a.k.a. K. K. Hebbar .

When there were practically no venues in Mumbai for showing modern art , Gandhy would use his showroom window as an informal exhibiting space for budding artists and also seek prospective clients for them.

“Despite being such a huge figure on the art circuit, he was never intimidating to young artists . He was known to be friendly and approachable though he belonged to a different generation ,” said painter Atul Dodiya , who has held several shows at Gandhy’s gallery.

In 2007, Gallery Chemould moved out of Jehangir Art Gallery to a larger, state-of-the-art space . It is now headed by his daughter Shirin Gandhy .

I am not a connoisseur of modern art . It is not because of lack of appreciation but because of my penury . I don’t have money to buy paintings or a huge space to display them properly . But whenever I visit South Mumbai , I do visit Jehangir Art Gallery at Kala Ghoda . I love to be there .

I don’t know Kekoo Gandhy in personal capacity . I knew him through the columns of news papers . I do know that he is considered a father – figure in the field of modern art . His demise is really an irreparable loss .

I express my condolences . On behalf of me and my Acting Institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I pray for the departed soul .

May his soul rest in peace !

[ Since I had no contacts with Kekoo Gandhy , I have quoted relevant facts of his life from news papers like , Times Of India and Indian Express . I am indebted . ]

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60 Years of Jahangir Art Gallery


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           OCTOBER 20, 2012           7.30 P.M.

17 October 2012 was the day when I wanted to post this blog . On that day iconic Jehangir Art Gallery completed 60 years if its existence . But I was unable to post this blog on that day because I was busy in untangling the latest maze in my professional life . I have almost thwarted the threat coming to me from some upstart , uncouth Acting Trainers of Mumbai .

You can call me Acting Trainer of Mumbai or Acting Tutor of Mumbai , it doesn’t matter much . I , as one of the most successful Acting Coach , am doing this job since 23 years . But sometimes even ants seem to overpower a lion , though temporarily .

That is precisely the reason I missed the historic opportunity . I am delayed by 3 days . Apart from the historical importance of the gallery , I was eager to write this blog because Jehangir Art Gallery was stablished in 1952 , the year of my birth . So we share the same birth year .

jahangir art gallery

Jahangir art gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Jehangir Art Gallery is Mumbai’s most famous art gallery and a tourist attraction. It was founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir at the urging of K. K. Hebbar and Homi Bhabha. It was built in 1952. Managed by the Bombay Art Society, the entire cost of this mansion was donated by Cowasji Jehangir.

English: Sir Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney C.S.I...

Sir Cowasji Jehangir Readymoney C.S.I., Parsi Businessman, and philanthropist from Bombay. (1812-1878) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This gallery is situated at Kala Ghoda, behind the Prince of Wales Museum, in South Mumbai near the Gateway of India. and has four exhibition halls. The gallery was designed by G.M.Bhuta for G.M. Bhuta & Associates. A mammoth institution in itself, its history is linked with the renaissance of Indian art. The complex also has the popular cafe of Samovar, which is reminiscent of the 70’s socialist culture. It also houses Natesans, the country’s oldest licensed antique dealers. Entry is free.

The art gallery and the Samovar restaurant were featured in the 1975 Bollywood film Choti Si Baat.

The building has been designed by Durga Bajpai and is one of the early concrete structures in the city. The gallery has been turned inwards due to a combined function of an auditorium and an art gallery. Although the concept of an introvert art gallery could be questioned today, the Jehangir is an example of an early modernist notion of the inward looking art galleries in the city. Moreover, the function of the auditorium left no scope for the gallery to be open to the street. The play with concrete can be easily seen with a large wavy cantilevered entrance which embraces the street. The otherwise bland facade is articulated with relief stone cladding.

I first visited the Gallery in 1972 , when I visited the city. Then again I visited it in 1989 , when I came here and settled . Till date I have visited it many times .

The Kala Ghoda precinct is unique in many ways . It has , apart from Jehangir Art Gallery , old Watson Hotel , Prince of Wales Museum and J. J. School of Arts . Rhythm House , the well – known music store , is also situated here . Max Muller Bhawan , the cultural centre of Germany , is also here . Iconic Taj Mahal Hotel and Gateway of India are not very far off . A mere walk in the lanes of Kala Ghoda precinct can send you into the memory lane of history . It can invigorate you , charge you to no end .

 

Watson's Hotel in Kala Ghoda.

Watson’s Hotel in Kala Ghoda. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

English: Gateway of India in Mumbai, India. Fr...

Gateway of India in Mumbai, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

English: The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, India.

The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have done it many times . I beseech you to do this once . Go there , have a lazy stroll and feel the essence of old Bombay .

[ I have taken information about Jehangir Art gallery from Wikipedia . I express gratitude . ]

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