Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mouth Organ Maestro Madan Kumar

It was world friendship day. Also a Sunday when members of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat assemble in a public park in the morning to practice and play.

"Madan Kumar is in Ahmedabad." This was Ramakrishna Sabnavees on the telephone. He had called up me and Tapan Bhatt to wish us on friendship day.

Tapan grabbed the opportunity that had come the way of the club and informed Sandeep Patankar to bring along Madan Kumar to the park.

Excitement ran high among the club members as the word spread that the doyen of harmonica was on his way to the park. Members surrounded Madan Kumar with the plea to play a few numbers. "I have heard so much about your club. First, please play all of you, one by one. I want to hear you," said Madan Kumar. So ernest was his request that the club members suppressed their desire to listen to the mouth organ maestro live and asked Aditya, the 12-year-old youngest member of the club to play a few numbers.

"It is Aditya's generation which will bring back the art of playing mouth organ into the mainstream of performing arts. I am glad to see that boys like Aditya are so passionate about mouth organ," said a beaming Madan Kumar.

"I too had picked up mouth organ when I was seven-year-old. It was 'Echo' from M Hohner, Germany, which my elder brother had brought home one day but would not allow me to touch. However, he forgot to take with him the instrument when he left for work. So I grabbed the piece and started playing to my heart's content. Since then, mouth organ became a part of me," said Madan Kumar, recalling his childhood days.

Over the next 60 years, Madan Kumar and mouth organ became synonymous. The HMV brought out more than a dozen of his records and noted music directors like Laxmikant Pyarelal and Khayyam have made him play romantic numbers for their films.

Nowadays, Madan Kumar teaches children in Pune.

The Harmonica Club of Gujarat could not resist its greed of listening to Madan Kumar live. Club trustee Bansi Gajjar called him over to his residence to spend an entire evening with the club members. We will be bringing you Madan Kumar live through rare videos on this blog.



On the very day of " Friendship day ' when I called up Sri Madan Kumar Sahab he immediately exclaimed ' hello sabnavees how are you ? No phones from you for a long time ' With due respects I told him sir I was busy & I wanted to wish you on this very day, but I have no guts to address you as ' Friend' To this he laughed.At that instant he told me, 'sabnavees ji right now I am in Ahmedabad'. I finished my talk with him & was excited to convey this news to Tapan Bhai & Nachiketa Sahab. It was a real thril for me to pass the message to Tapan Bhai.Immediately Tapan Bhai exclaimed with a lot of happiness ' Kya baat kartey ho ". then the rest of the time my Gujarat brothers had a real happy time with the Maestro whom I was listening in Radio Ceylon during my childhood & was dreaming to meet him in person. It was my good fortune that I met him at Hyderabad during the last march where he was on a personal visit to his daughters house. Unfortunately the programme which we planned at Hyderabad could not materialise. But how ever its a matter of great happiness that we the Hyderabadis & Ahmedabadis are fortunate that Sri Madan Kumar ji is with us since he has bondage with both the places.


Rajesh Sinha said...

Hi Sabnavisji,
Glad to know about you and your child like passion for Mouthorgan and the craze for Madan Kr.
I too know him since 1968 and used to hear him on V.Bharati and Radio Ceylone. Bhagwan ke kripa se i met him in Pune in 98 at his Studio on MG Rd. My most cherished tune is Taron Se Pyare which he had played in 70's.
In fact I had asked Sri Nachiketa Desai why they never write anything about Madan Kr. and Bhanu Gupta. He said that they are not aware of them. I think that I am the first person to inquire about them.but Desaisaheb says that they are first to put MadanKr.on net which I think is wrong.
So far only three people I've come across who know Bhanu da and they are Madan Kr.,Dlip Patil and Mr. Velvelkar of Harmonica club of Pune.