“Is this true?” was the emotional response of two elderly men exiting Fort’s Rhythm House, Ved Kansra (75) and his brother Bharat. They had come all the way from Chembur to buy CDs.
It was with disbelief that many reacted to this newspaper’s report, stating that the iconic store may shut shop as early as February 2016. Even so, brisk would not quite be the adjective to describe business at Rhythm House when mid-day returned there yesterday.
A few patrons were in the store late last afternoon, browsing the music collection. Most of them shrugged when asked casually about whether they had heard or read that the store may be closing.
Rhythm House. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The staff was wary. Asked whether they had read the news or heard that the store was to close, they simply brushed away the small talk with a succinct, “The management has not told us till now, so we do not know.” Outside the store, there was little evidence of the news that has set social media buzzing crazily.
Traffic coursed through the commercial heart of the city. A few youngsters were sitting outside on the Jehangir Art Gallery stairs, exchanging laughs. Artists lounged by their work outside the gallery looking out for buyers. A tourist bus idled outside the Prince of Wales museum, and, the food and beverages booth was doing brisk business nearby as passengers quaffed down samosas, washed down by Energee.
It was the managers and staff of the commercial establishments around Rhythm House, who were taken aback at the news. Some termed it unfortunate, but many were skeptical.
Kapoor Lamp Shades’ manager Shabbir Mandviwala, who has been working at the Khala Ghoda store for three years, was shocked. He said, “Rhythm House has heritage value and should not be closed. I like the quality of music on original CDs; digital music has something missing. I hope this news is not true.”
My shop and Rhythm House were started around the same time in 1949. They would ask me to make their staff uniforms. I like visiting the store and buying devotional music CDs. The gramophones from the ‘60s were the best. Even now Rhythm House is the best music store in Mumbai. Indru Krishnani, who owns Stylo Tailors and Clothes near Rhythm House
I have been visiting the store since 1962. I come at least once a year. I do not know how to download music or films; here I find all the classical films that remind me of my youth. If Rhythm House shuts down, Mumbai will be at a loss, as they have a great collection of movies and songs. Ved Kansra, who had come from Chembur with his brother Bharat to buy CDs.