‘THE JETS’, Five Local Boys, Earn Pocket
Money with their weekly Dance Band
By a Staff Reporter
BOMBAY: Five young boys, three in school, one
serving an apprenticeship and one being trained in business, have
given Bombay its newest dance band. They call themselves ‘THE JETS’.
Dressed in their slim black pants, white shirts and corduroy
jackets, they make an attractive group. By Indian standards, these
boys are doing something unusual; they are earning a living whilst
studying and working. Saturday is their big day.
The boys are: Malcolm Mazumdar 19, who is studying at St
Xaviers, Napoleon “Bonaparte” Braganza 20, who is an apprentice in
Larson & Toubro, Michael Kirby 16, who is studying at the Campion
School, Suresh Bhojwani, 17, who is doing his H.S.C. at the
Cathedral and Ashok Daryanani 17 who is schooling at the Campion.
All talented, their one aim - to express themselves by
playing on the guitar and singing. Last week the Jets invited
CURRENT to listen to some of their music and for an hour I heard
them sing and play with delightful abandon on their electric
guitars.The nicest thing about them is the fact that they want to
use their free time usefully. “We could do with a little more cash”
they explained. All of them have stopped taking pocket money from
their parents because, “It is fun to earn ourselves”.
How Did The Jets Start
“One day we just got together and decided we would like to
give a free show for charity. We adore singing and playing and so we
joined together into an instrumental and vocal group and began
playing free for charity” said Suresh Bhojwani. “Michael’s father
makes guitars and this is a great help. Last December we went to
Bangalore and got our first break. We played at a local hotel for 15
minutes for Rs. 150/- per night”.
The Beatle Influence
The music they play is greatly influenced by the “BEATLES”
and the “SHADOWS” and they play mostly “Beat” numbers.
On their return to Bombay they tried their hand at the
Ambassador Hotel where big-hearted Jack offered them a contract
every Saturday night with dinner for five. “And did we eat! Like
One night as they were playing at the Ambassador, Mr Oberoi
of the Grand Hotel came over and offered them a contract in
Calcutta. “We were studying then and could not possibly have left
our work, but we decided we would like to do the job during our
holidays. Now we are getting Rs. 3,000/- for two weeks, with board
and lodging thrown in”.
The boys were thrilled: “It is going to be a challenge, so
we are terribly excited”. “You know”, the boys said, “this is not
going to last very long and we have decided that whilst it lasts let
us have fun; soon we will be doing other things …. business
administration, salesmanship, engineering ….. there is a time and a
place for everything, but we are enjoying this interlude immensely”.
Did their parents object?
“In the beginning, yes, but finally they realized that our
studies were not suffering and we were doing something useful and in
a sense creative”.
The Jets excel at singing such songs as ‘Savage’, ‘She Loves
You’, “Do You Love Me’, ‘Twist and Shout’. That morning the Jets
played ‘I Love Her’ and their own version of La Paloma for CURRENT.
Their music was gay and scintillating.
“Do you know”, they confided, “no one had heard this beat
before and we are very proud that we now have a fan following”.
Their one aim is to get a record and to be known all over
One of them, Malcolm, composes by ear and they feel happy
that every Sunday they can play for teenagers and this is free. Such
ambition needs encouragement.
BOMBAY’S BEAT GROUPS (1) – THE JETS
By a Staff Reporter
The Jets, Mike Kirby, 17, lead guitar, Malcolm
Mazumdar, 19, rhythm guitar, Suresh Bhojwani, 17, bass guitar and
Napoleon Braganza, 20, drums – are close to becoming a legend.
Definitely Bombay top Beat Group, this raving and rocking
foursome are a star attraction whenever they play. The boys act is a
wild combination of guitars, drums, voices and noise. While the near
frenzied audience stomps their feet and screams their approval, the Jets
zip from haunting rhythm and blues to wild abandoned rock ‘n’ roll.
To find out how it all began let’s jet back to mid April
1964. That was the time Suresh, Malcolm and Mike were toying with the
idea of starting their own beat group but what they needed was a young,
good drummer who was really “with it”.
The Right Man : Napoleon
Search as they might they just could not find the right man,
that is until a mutual friend suggested Napoleon.
Nobody knew what he looked like or who he was except that
they were to meet him outside the Regal at 10 ‘o’ clock one Sunday
morning in April 1964. Promptly at 10 ‘o’ clock three Jets stood in
front of the Regal where the Sunday morning show crowd was milling
about. To search was futile and hopeless. There was only one thing to
do. They stood and in unison shouted “Napoleon”. A few seconds later a
small voice piped up, “That’s me!! And that’s how Napoleon joined the
Barely a week later on May 1st 1964 the Jets zoomed into the
public eye. The scene was a small coffee bar, packed inside, while
outside an anxious crowd pressed up close to the entrance trying to get
an ear full of what is now the famous “Jet Sound”. While the girls
screamed and stomped their feet nobody guessed the nervousness that
gripped each Jet’s heart. An hour later the Jet’s first public
appearance was over but the screaming and shouting continued for a full
fifteen minutes after the last Jet had left the stage and as the manager
gently told the audience that the act was definitely over the crowd
muttering went their way. “Fantastic, absolutely fantastic”, said
manager Ashok Daryanani while Suresh confessed “I was so darned nervous
I repeated one verse of a song eight times over”.
Just a week ago I dropped in on the Jet Headquarters while a
practice session was in progress. The din was tremendous and I waited,
watched and listened patiently as the Jets went through their paces. The
are perfectionists and I heard them run through a song several times
before they were satisfied with the net results. A while later I
witnessed one of the Jets many heated discussions (which the boys
jokingly term their dog fights) on the arrangement of one of their own
compositions. Tempers ran high, voices were raised and the atmosphere
was tense. Tense, that is, until little Napoleon threatened to throw
180lb Malcolm out of the window. While the Jets rolled with laughter, I
decided to toss in a few questions. Referring to their recent appearance
at the St Mary’s Defence fete where-in the police were called in to
quell the eager, boisterous fans, I asked, “Is it true that this was one
of your best performances? “Man, it was our wildest experience” said
Suresh and Mike added, “ It was terrific. We all felt great,
particularly when we were smuggled in and out of the side doors to avoid
the fans. Real Beatle like”. Manager, Ashok had this to say “The boys
were scheduled to play for fifteen minutes but they got off stage almost
70 minutes later”. While Napoleon beamed, Malcolm admitted “It was
definitely our best show, but I think I preferred the Beat Group Contest
at the ‘Beat Nite’ held recently which we won”. It was at this show that
the perfectionist in the boys came to the surface. Finding the sound
system not up to their standards the Jets called Mr Percy Collins who
installed his famous “Sonic Sound System”.
The trouble around here” complained the Jets, “is that only
if you can imitate a record word for word and sound for sound do people
regard you as being good. But we’re out to disprove this. We try as far
as possible not to imitate the records. Instead we strive to interpret
the songs in our own style by constantly experimenting with the new and
more intriguing sounds”.
Music And Career
“We love what we’re doing” said Malcolm, “but we don’t plan
on making a career of it. There’s not much encouragement for our type of
music around here and in any case we’ve each selected our future careers
which run from Advertising to Engineering. But don’t get me wrong, we’re
really enjoying ourselves”.
“You might say” put in Mike Kirby, “we’re making hair while
the sun shines. Excuse the bad pun”.
“Yes its true that we get requests for autographs”, said
Suresh as he coaxed out a mean bass run. “At a recent movie premier
where we performed, the fans caught us backstage and we signed almost
thirty autographs before the fans were sent out. Later on, while we were
watching the movie, two teenage girls rushed up, dumped autograph books
in our laps and vanished”.
Our greatest ambition right now is to cut a record” said
Napoleon. “If only we could get a break, but as Malcolm said before,
there’s no encouragement around here”.
Equipment wise, the Jets have got nothing to complain about.
“How do you like this?” asked the manager Ashok, as he handed me one of
the Jets gleaming guitars, and informed me that all the guitars used by
the Jets were made by Mike’s father, Mr Kirby who told me that it’s one
of his hobbies. Mr Kirby’s latest contribution to the Jet guitar line-up
is a genuine four string “Thunder” Bass Guitar, and is now going ahead
with his plan to make it a twelve string “Folk Beat” guitar.
The Jets had a bit of advice to give to up and coming Beat
Groups. Practice hard they said, try to become as well known as possible
and always be on the lookout for new and different sounds. Also
showmanship and stage presentation were extremely important, and if this
was neglected a new beat group would have a hard time making the grade.
As The Jets rose to resume practice, I braced myself for the
onslaught of sound that soon followed. It was an exciting experience
which included such numbers as “Help”, “The Last Time”, “Satisfaction”,
and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy”. As I went to the door, Manager Ashok Daryanani
with his bowler-hat set neatly atop his head led me to the lift.
“You havn’t a second-hand hearing aid for sale have you?” I
joked as I entered the lift.
He shot me a menacing look and stepped forward but by then I
was gone, gone, gone.