Saturday, 21 September 2013

DJ Suketu & Sunny Sarid to Herald Ghungroo’s Third Birth Next Week

Sunny Sarid, who has been synonymous
with Ghungroo since 1986, is leading the
team working on the reopening of the
nightclub at WelcomHotel Dwarka.
Image courtesy of
By Sourish Bhattacharyya

SUNNY SARID, a B.Com. student from Chandigarh who used to come to party in Delhi on weekends, took charge of the DJ’s console at Ghungroo in the most unusual circumstances in 1986. Bill Bhattacharya, the then DJ of India’s most happening nightspot at the ITC Maurya, had not reported for duty and seemed to have disappeared from mother earth. Ghungroo’s captain, P.K. Mehta, who used to play the same ‘slow numbers’ for ‘close dances’ between 1:30 and 2 a.m. every night, was in a cold sweat. So, when he saw Sunny sauntering into the discotheque, he put him on the job that would define the life of the country’s best-known deejay at a time when the clubbing culture was in its infancy.
Today, 27 years on, Sunny Sarid is working overtime to get the rejuvenated Ghungroo up and running for its third life at the WelcomHotel Dwarka (its second was as a part of Dublin, Ghungroo’s successor at the ITC Maurya). The split-level nightclub, which will have a mix of Bollywood and international numbers belting out of its sound system set up by the UK-based company OHM, will open with a performance by DJ Suketu next week (the formal announcement will be brought to you soon by IRS a.k.a. Indian Restaurant Spy). The following night will see Sunny Sarid, the man who took the leap of faith and put Bollywood and Punjabi pop on the nightclub’s playlist at a time when it was considered blasphemy, in action behind the console designed by Pioneer, the leading company in the business. The other big features of the new Ghungroo are the laser displays and colourwash lighting, which will make the walls awash with changing colours.
The old Ghungroo opened in 1978 with a woman DJ from UK, who played for eight months and left after passing the mantle on to Field Marshal K.M. (‘Kim’) Cariappa’s daughter, Nalini. Bill Bhattacharya took over from Nalini Cariappa around 1981, after she went to Madikeri, the picture-perfect hill station in Coorg, where the Field Marshal had built his home named Roshanara in 1944, to be with her father. It was from Bill that Sunny Sarid picked up the basics of mixing at a time when DJs were looked upon as oddities — Bill was only too happy to let Sunny play whenever he wanted to take a break or have a smoke. Last heard, and that was in 1989-90, Bill was a manager heading a couple of McDonald’s stores in the U.K.
It was Sunny Sarid that defined Ghungroo, which became an essential part of the rites of passage for the generation of Delhiites now in its late 40s and early 50s. Unsurprisingly, there was an outpouring of nostalgia when Ghungroo shut down in 2001 with a who’s who party at Kamal Mahal, ITC Maurya’s banquet hall, which I still remember for the dazzling display of lasers accompanying Sunny’s music. The dress code was ‘Bohemian’ and Delhi’s A-List made it a point to show up in it that night.
It’s impossible to imagine Ghungroo without Sunny Sarid. As he told me nostalgically, “Anywhere in the world, from Toronto to Hong Kong, and most recently on a bus in Turkey, I invariably bump into someone who recognises me from Ghungroo.” Will Ghungroo ever be able to relive those glory days? Clubbing action, Sunny said, has moved to neighbourhoods today because people have become careful about not driving home from distant discotheques after imbibing alcohol. The new Ghungroo may not get back the old crowd, but it certainly promises to be West Delhi’s hippest hangout zone — an aspirational watering hole for trendy youngsters with the spending power to live their dream.

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