Ganpatrao and Gondurao Gaitonde

Published: Sep 15, 2019, 05:39 IST | Rahul da Cunha

Ganpatrao Gaitonde, aka DJ Gun, took a pause. He flexed a muscle, mixed some protein shake and then continued

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul da CunhaGanpatrao Gaitonde lifted a 50 kg dumbell and adjusted his Ayushman Khurrana puff in the mirror simultaneously, when I met him. He said to me: "I am Ganpatrao Gaitonde, but you please refer to me as DJ Gun. Woh mera stage name hai! I am top DJ in Girgaum area. Our Baba, manje, our father only started our company 'GAITONDE BAND BAAJA'. See boss, Ganesh chaturti ka time, hamara family ka tradition hai. Baba has been playing drums and music for visarjans for 30 years now. He is retiring next year. When the client wants simple only, they call mera bada bhai, Gondurao. Gondurao yeh sab filmi event, Filmfare Nite mein drums bajaata hai. He is a little old fashioned, not like me.

All young young peoples, they ask for me, DJ Gun. I play all new new music—Honey Yo Yo Singh, Mika Singh, all Bhai's hits, some of my original compositions. I have the biggest biceps in this drumming business. Five-five hours I play dhol non stop. For that, I work out six days a week. Rest of the year I am DJ Gun. I play in many many party-sharty. Last year only, Vidyut Jamwal called me and Tiger Shroff has asked for my number."

Ganpatrao Gaitonde, aka DJ Gun, took a pause. He flexed a muscle, mixed some protein shake and then continued.

"You see also, we have a school, GAITONDE CLASSES—where we teach many many things—we have drum classes, for those young boys who are aspiring to play during religious festivals. Our hottest class, manje one very popular one that many many join, where I only teach is 'How to bajao the dhol while the truck is moving left side to right side to avoid potholes and you have to keep balance'. Like how airline staff have to keep balance in the plane, whilst serving food. Very difficult it is, when the truck moves side to side and you have to keep steady and bajao at same time."

"Every Ganesh time we teach new new things in our school. From this year, I have upgraded our classes. Manje, we are teaching underwater activities, like underwater swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving."

"Why?" I asked perplexed.

"You will, no doubt be surprised why we should teach underwater swimming classes in this, dhol bajana business. I will answer.

"You have seen ki, even with 50 mm of rainfall, our Mumbai becomes fully flooded. You have noted ki double decker buses are half underwater like submarine. So, even our trucks which have Lord Ganesh ka moorthi are having the same probem. The trucks are going 'half paani ke neeche'."

"So what do your classes teach?"

"We are teaching our students how to play underwater dhol—how they can breathe beneath the flood and still play. If the full truck goes underwater, we supply snorkelling gear and oxygen tanks so a person can swim and play drums simultaneously. In fact, they will soon be making a fillum on my life..."

"What will it be called?" I asked fascinated.

"Dhol Sajaa Ke Rakhna," DJ Gun concluded.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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