Rhythm House to shut down: This is how Mumbai reacted

City echoes santoor player and Rhythm House regular Rahul Sharma’s sentiment. Loss and longing dominate flood of reaction following mid-day’s report on the Kala Ghoda store planning to shut shop

Rahul Sharma, Santoor and fusion artiste
Rahul Sharma, Santoor and fusion artiste

It’s iconic not just for the variety of music, but for its courteous and knowledgeable staff. It’s where you could mingle with enthusiastic music buyers. A few of my albums were launched there. Mumbai will lose its Mecca of music.

Read Story: Iconic south Mumbai music store Rhythm House to shut shop in 2016

Pankaj Udhas, ghazal singer
Pankaj Udhas, ghazal singer

I skipped a heartbeat when I saw the report. Memories flashed before my eyes — my LPs on display there, the autograph sessions, and the sale of tickets to my concerts at Shanmukhananda Hall. It’s the end of an era. Thank you, Mehmood Curmally and staff for making us who we are today. Kala Ghoda won’t look the same again.

Merlin D’Souza, producer, member of Indiva
Merlin D’Souza, producer, member of Indiva

I have released so many albums there, and watched my posters being put up. Curmally fondly called me ‘female AR Rahman’. Today, it’s all about convenience, buying music online, and tickets on apps. Cars don’t come with CD players anymore, do they?

Shireen Gandhy, gallerist
Shireen Gandhy, gallerist

My immediate feeling is of old India versus the new. And I am on the side of the decrepit old India. When Café Samovar shut down, it didn’t come as a surprise, since we knew the lease was ending. But this is a real shock. As a child, I’d hang at the gallery (Chemould, housed inside Jehangir Art Gallery), was across the road from the store. As a teenager, the store introduced me to Rock n Roll and the Beatles. There were little rooms, where you could lock yourself in [music booth]. It was my personal record player.

Also Read: Rhythm House was a significant address for Mumbai theatre

Pt Satish Vyas, Santoor maestro
Pt Satish Vyas, Santoor maestro

I’ve been a regular for 40 years, and I don’t think any music store in India compares to it. The Curmallys promoted Indian classical music with passion.

Kiran Nagarkar, Sahitya Akademi winning writer
Kiran Nagarkar, Sahitya Akademi winning writer

As collegians with little pocket money, we’d pool our money to buy music at Rhythm House, which had a strong influence on my knowledge of Indian classical and film music. I was able to enjoy stalwarts like Pt Ravi Shankar and Ustad Alla Rakha before they achieved worldwide fame, at Rhythm House’s booths. Every music-loving person in Bombay used to patronize it. The state should recognise it as an institution, and look at keeping it alive. Mumbai cannot allow it to die.

Brian Tellis, music entrepreneur, veteran RJ
Brian Tellis, music entrepreneur, veteran RJ

I was with Mehmood Curmally in Delhi just a few days ago, but I didn’t know the store was shutting. About 30 years ago, I used to collect vinyl and visited his store often. My first albums — Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy, Rolling Stone’s Sticky Fingers — I bought from him. Today, who wants to lug a CD around when you can carry your life in a mobile phone?

Adi Jehangir, chairperson, Jehangir Art Gallery
Adi Jehangir, chairperson, Jehangir Art Gallery

It was a landmark of Bombay. I have been visiting it since I was seven. They used to have cubicles where you could play LPs and 45 RPMs. In the mid-80s, there was a trough in sales, but it picked up again after imports were allowed. I should’ve guessed this was going to happen when I noticed that they weren’t replenishing the Classical music section although the stock had reduced to 1/5th.

Read Story: Rhythm House was my research tool: Narendra Kusnur

Deepak Rao, city historian
Deepak Rao, city historian

Since I can recall, Rhythm House was the place to go for LPs, EPs, 45RPMs and even 78s. Once we’d pick our favourites after a listening session in the booths, they’d hand us a mint copy. 

Rahul da Cunha, ad and theatre personality
Rahul da Cunha, ad and theatre personality

Our next Amul hoarding, out this weekend, is dedicated to Rhythm House. It’s a huge, personal loss. As a collegian in the late 1970s and early 80s, I would shuttle between St Xavier’s where I studied and Elphinstone College where I had friends. We’d pop into the store for records. This was before cassettes arrived. They had a phenomenal system, what with AC listening cubicles, complete with curtains, where I discovered [Pink] Floyd and Deep Purple.

Prakash A Thadani, Jazz India - Hon Gen. Secretary 
The Mecca of Music is shutting down in Mumbai. This brings a flood of memories going back 5 decades. At least once a week from school we used to walk to listen to the latest releases in their cubicles, that eventually were dismantled and replaced with head phones. After a Bullock Cart session down the road we would always purchase an EP/LP or cassette of a song that we heard and we liked.. Not to forget the gracious owners permitted Jazz India and other organisations to sell tickets alloting a small counter on the left of the entrance. The Music festival Jazz Yatra featured the most well known Jazz musicians from all over the world. Their LP’s and latest tracks could be purchased here. The policy of playing new releases over their PS system encouraged many of us to pick up the album were listening to. Even today I visit Rhythm House to pick up CD that I have always wanted to listen to. We are really going to miss Rhythm House in the years to come.

Tweet talk

@kunalvijaykar: AN ERA ENDS FOR ALL US WHO GREW UP IN S. MUMBAI @ Iconic south Mumbai music store Rhythm House to shut shop in 2016

@SimplySajidK: Last year it was new empire, now rhythm house…sad…Mumbai needs its iconic landmarks...CM saab pls save rhythm hs!

@sethshruti: Another haunt during college days will soon become a memory. Will miss you #rhythmhouse Thank u for all the music

@shilparao11: Can’t believe my Disneyland is shutting down

@roopkumarsunali: @PMOIndia take note of the dying #musical #heritage Iconic Rhythm House to shut shop. Sad news indeed

@mihirjoshimusic: Was such a proud day to see my album #?MumbaiBlues on the front rack in Rhythm House (Kala Ghoda)! Man! I’m going to miss the place!

@tanuj_garg: The end of an era. Kala Ghoda won’t be the same without Rhythm House. No place for good ol’ CDs in these digital times. RIP.

@mojorojo: Rhythm House is fine. If you shut Ayub’s, I will hold a candlelight march.

@PabloVikasso: My most fond memory of Rhythm House was giving it to people as a landmark to guide them to places around Kala Ghoda.

@calamur: Heartbroken that rhythm house is shutting down. Simply the best collection of Hindustani classical music, and knowledgeable staff

@anushree_das: Yesterday was happy for Cafe Madras, today sad for #RhythmHouse ... Few survive, few fade away in this mad city #Mumbai

@RajNairitis: So all you people who are so sad about #RhythmHouse shutting down, when was the last time you bought something there?

@dipaah: Samovar is where one sat after college; Rhythm House was a weekend trip with the mother. Now, there’s neither.

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1 Comments

  • ajayjjj26-Nov-2015

    they can all contribute money and keep the store alive. but will they do it? no way.

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