Monday, February 16, 2009

Rustom Karwa : The Man who lives music

" Yes, we can meet outside the church at Kemps Corner. I am wearing a peacock blue shirt and I sport a french beard." I was delighted that Rustom Karwa, harmonica maestro agreed to spare some time to meet me.

Rustom has been playing harmonica since childhood. He formed his small band comprising chord harmonica player Nani Sukhadwala and base player Adi Billimoria.

Rustom has played in many Hindi movies. These include Ek duje ke liye, Iman aur Dharam, Aashik hu baharo ka, Chhailababu, Mr. India, Saudagar and Vishwatma to name just a few. Whenever you hear someone whistling in any of the songs, chances are the man doing it is Rustom. Besides playing harmonica, Rustom whistles his way into the heart of the music lovers.

No wonder, Rustom has been a favourite of music directors like Laxmikant Pyarelal, Usha Khanna and Anu Malik who have used his whistling and harmonica playing skills to embellish their music.

"Blow your harmonica as if you are blowing out a candle and see the difference," says Rustom, letting me in into the secret of playing this delicate musical instrument. He had many secrets to share but we had very little time on hand. However, he was kind to play a few numbers and share his experiences with me for almost two hours while sitting in the Gaylord restaurant near the Churchgate station.

Rustom can carry out minor repairs of harmonica, a service he provides to his fans and followers. Though harmonica is his first love, Rustom believes that to play any instrument one must have an ear for music and an eye for details.

Rustom played the popular number 'Lara's Theme' from the film 'Dr Zhivago' specially for me to capture the video for the Harmonica Club blog.

I have also captured a clip of his whistling - but of that sometime later.


CK said...

Tapan ji,
Hats off for your enthusiasm and efforts that we get to know about such wonderful artistes on this blog. This tune I had admired for years without knowing it was from Dr.Zivago. Is it possible for you to request Mr Rustam to send us some of his performances recorded in studios?

Regards, Chandrashekhar Khare

Tapan Bhatt said...

Dear CK,
I was with the master for more than 2 hours. I requested him to provide the online training on chargeable basis. He is very clear about learning music. He says he teaches music not the instrument. If you know how to read and understnd music practiclly you can play any instrument with a little knowledge of its basic structure.You will be surprised to know that he was very happy when i showed the video taken in my mobile. He had his last records given to someone. I swear one must meet him. I am going to invite him to Ahmedabad in one of the performances. Next sunday once again we are invited by the AMC to perform in Open air theatre in Kankaria Complex. COMING ???

Abe said...

Mr. Rustom Karwa is an amazing harmonica player, and I had an opportunity to meet him in Mumbai, at the music show held there several years ago. Yes, you are right.. He believes that once you learn "music", learn to read music, you can play any instrument. He teaches how to read staff notation, and those skills then used to play the harmonica. I am very happy to learn that you had an opportunity to spend some time with Mr. Karwa and thank you for sharing this beautiful moment with the rest of us around the world. Abe