Print sings a song for Sunday - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

Whilst in lockdown, printers and related industry personnel have recorded their own version of an old or not-so-old classic. It may not be Bhimsen Joshi or Madan Mohan, but the first of the two-part series is guaranteed to brighten your day.

Enjoy! This fun Sunday Column - Part I

26 Apr 2020 | By Noel D'Cunha

Anuj Bhargava, director, Kumar Labels, New Delhi

This labeller who has entered into finishing equipment manufacturing has the skills and the heart. As good as he is at delivering 283 variants of labels in 10 hours, he can also sing, and sing well. Aur jab dil ke baat ho toh, who better than a person who labels most of our happy hour drinks.


G Venugopal, managing director, Sterling Print House, Kochi

Popularly known as Bombay Venu (like Bombay Ravi, the music maestro), G Venugopal of Sterling Print House, Kochi, found his voice while studying mechanical engineering at a Mumbai-based college. His father sings well and one of his cousins is a professional singer. “I trained for two years, but it was not very professional training,” Venugopal admits. Print was my focus.

Kishore Kumar is his favourite singer because the man and his singing resonate with what he is. “Kishore-da too was not a trained singer. And there’s a strange celebration of all emotions,” He says. His top five songs are all Kishore Kumar specials — O Hansini; O mere dil ke chain; Kiska rastha dekhe and Kisi baat par mein. Incidentally, they are also composed by Pancham-da, another genius and my idol. On long drives, through the pristine greens of Kerala, he loves to hear the song, Ek roz main tadapkar.

Venugopal is comfortable with the D-scale when singing for his band, ‘Aalaap’, which was formed two years ago. He prefers to sing along recorded D-scale song during the practice sessions. Even though he can, he hasn’t rapped as yet.

Here he is singing the Asha Bhosale-Mohd Rafi duet from Kaala Pani, with his sister Priya.


Iqbal Kherodawala, director at Printline Reproductions, Mumbai

Printers print, rarely do they pen down their thoughts. And only sometimes sing.

Iqbal Kherodawala of Printline Reproductions is a rare exception.

He prints, writes and sings, all exceptionally well. “I generally prefer Hindi songs, and more importantly songs from the 1970s,” says Kherodawala.

Although the current crop of singers and musicians are a breath of fresh air, he prefers listening to singers Rafi and Kishore and Arijit Singh.

“I’m a big fan of Madan Mohan, SD Burman and RD Burman. From the current tunesmiths, I like Rahman of course and Vishal Shekhar, along with Pritam.”



Mrinal Dhote, director, Bharat Lithographing, Kolkata

Born on 3 April 1974 in Kolkata, Mrinal Dhote is the third generation that helms the reins at Bharat Lithographing. But printing is not his only love.

Mrinal is a passionate guitarist and part of a rock and roll band called Blue Mist and strongly feels that “guitar playing is a connect between the head, the heart, the soul and the fingers — the best connect wins!”

Much like printing a perfect print job as any scholar of print technology would point out.

Here Dhote shares an instrumental he did during the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown.  



Narinder Manku, founder, Joy D-Zign Engineers

Narinder Singh Manku has spent over 57 years in the industry, 22+ years with Monotype followed by 10 years in trading of machinery and materials and finally a manufacturing set-up to exclusively design and produce affordable solutions for vital operations of book-binding process.

Joy D-Zign Engineers, started in 1995 with his friend Kanwal Jit Singh, produces over 18 different types of machines plus SPMs in varying sizes.

Manku is very fond of listening to Gurbani, semi-classical, classical, gazals, sufi and folk songs.

His favourite Music Directors are Naushad; SD Burman; Khayyam; Shankar-Jaikishan; Madan Mohan; Jaidev; Roshan; Kalyanji-Anandji; Ravi; SN Tripathi and R D Burman.

He believes some of the younger generation of music directors are good in patches but not in the same class, as earlier musical directors were not so dependent on the technology per se.

His favourite singers include Md Rafi; Mukesh; Manna De; Hemant; Kishore; Bhupinder; Talat; Jagjit Singh.



P Sajith, director at Impel-Welbound, Mumbai

Sajith is a well-known figure in the print industry, but now many knew of his singing skills until he sang at the PrintWeek Awards Night a couple of years ago. And he is a pro.

Sajith learned Carnatic music under Guru Sri Ochira Balakrishnan, who is a direct disciple of Sri Semmangudi Sreenivas Iyer, for seven years.

He has also won the best male singer prize under Classical music, years 1981 and 1982, during the Kerala University Youth Festival.

So why didn’t he chase music for a living? “I did not have the guts, instead I picked nuts and bolts,” says Sajith.

He did nothing for the next three decades. Once 50, he returned to learning classical music under Smt Radha Namboodiri in Mumbai.

He has teamed up with Muralee, a Mumbai-based Malayalee and has composed close to 20 original songs, through Music Mumbe, a YouTube channel, which promotes semi-classical music in Indian Regional languages. Sajith’s channel has clicked more than 7.5-million views in less than one year.


Peter Rego, general manager, Heidelberg India, Mumbai

This Heidelberg India general manager spent his childhood in Mazagaon, but has his roots in Goa’s Assangaon village.

And it’s not one bit surprising to find that music runs in this Goenkar’s family. His dad was a violin player and a singer.

Rego plays the guitar and enjoys karaoke, especially when “spirits” are soaring.

His son plays the guitar and the drums while his daughter plays the keyboard.

“Jamming together is another way of spending quality time with family,” he says.

By the way, Rego’s journey from his first job at Otis to the next one in Heidelberg is quite an interesting tale.

Catch hold of Rego to find out, when you bump into him next.

Till then enjoy Rego sing this Kishore-da special, strumming his guitar.

PS: Rego sent two songs, one of them English, but I picked the medley with the Amar Prem classic and a Satta Pe Satta number, for I am a die-hard RD (Pancham) fan.


Sachin Gupta, managing director at Sain Packaging, Sonipat, Haryana

Gupta was in news recently for installing a brand new Heidelberg Heidelberg CS 92 five-colour plus online coater. And he was very excited. “It is the first brand new printing press for the company,” he says.

Gupta established the pharma packaging company in 2004 on the suggestion of a family friend, with a single-colour offset in Burari, Delhi. Gradually, Sain Packaging grew and now it converts 400 to 450-tonnes of packaging boards per month in 65,000-sqft production area.

While Gupta’s entry into printing was more than providential, music is something that he nurtured since his childhood.

Jab se hosh sambhala hai tab se sing karta aya hu,” he says.

He used to perform at parties, and other events. Today, while performing, he also has a YouTube channel, a band, and has a music production house. “I like all types of music. Singing is my passion. I was one of the best singers of my school and won many inter-school competitions, one received at the hands of Gulam Ali sahab.

Here Gupta is singing along with his wife, Ritu.


Uday Dhote, director, Dhote Offset Technokrafts, Mumbai

There are two Dhotes, Tushar and Uday, at this print company. One is a business strategist, a planner and implementer of ideas, the other, a financial pundit. Together, the Dhote brothers have built a hive where churning prints is as easy as turning a key.

There’s one thing common though, and that is music. Tushar’s son is a professional music director, and Uday a music lover. While singing is a passion for this chartered accountant, is sometimes takes a backseat when one has to manage business as well.

But whenever he is behind the mics, the flow in his voice brings out an honest and pure space.

“Music helps me stay happy and motivated while doing business,” says Dhote.

Here he is singing Yeh moh moh ke dhage, demonstrating how he is balancing his business and singing. Truly, an achievement.


Vimal Mehra, ink specialist

In August 2017, when Mehra, then director for sales and marketing at Sakata Inx, bid farewell to the graphics arts industry after putting in 47 years in the printing ink industry, he told PrintWeek that he will be spending rest of his time honing his singing talent.

“If I wasn’t in this industry, I would have been a singer. Before I joined the ink industry I used to sing, and I even do it now, but not on a professional level,” he says.

Mehra feels that he still has it in him, and says, “Sona toh hai, usko chamkaneki zaarurat hai. I have shortlisted a guru-ji under whom I will train.”

The gold is surely shining in this Asha Bhosle song from Mere Sanam. Listen in.



Print sings a song for Sunday (Part II) - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column