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The new music mecca 

BELLA JAISINGHANI  
This website, put up last November has already become a favourite with music lovers. Adinath Mangeshkar, Mandar Agashe and Gautam Godse set up musicurry.com in a fit of rebellion, calling their company QuestionableVentures!

Mandar says, "I took a degree in computer engineering from Pune. I was playing with a band in college. That's where I met Gautam. We had ambitious plans to start our own FM station, but that was nine years ago, when FM had not been privatised."

This concept did not work out, and for a while, Mandar did work at things that did not quite draw upon his creativity. However, his interest lay in music. He had already gained experience as a composer working with Adinath's father, noted music director Hridaynath Mangeshkar, and had got Asha Bhosle to sing his first song.

Last year, upon his return from a trip to the US, Mandar began to think how he could adapt the FM concept to suit the web. It was now that he renewed his association with Gautam and Adinath. "It was Gautam who initiated the first ISP in India, and launched it even before Satyam,'' says Mandar. "In fact, during the early days we sported long hair. That made our parents wonder what would become of us! Which is why we named our company QuestionableVentures."

Mandar describes the website as "not a portal, not a website, not a web magazine. I'm still trying to find the right word for it, but I'd describe it as a musical experience." He released the first music video, Nazar Nazar, on the Internet. Recently, Kal Teri Duniya Mein, featuring him and singer Amruta, has also been released on musicurry.com.

Those who have registered on the site have not found it wanting. A radio station offers a variety of Hindi film songs, ghazals and devotional musicand channels dedicated to Rafi, Lata, Asha , Kishore and Mukesh."Then there is `Hazm Hoga Kya?', which is a `Did You Know?' section with rarely-known facts," says Mandar. "We also do interviews with artists like Pankaj Udhas. So you can hear music at the time and place of your choice. It's not as if the programme goes on air at a particular time of day, and you've missed it if you didn't get home in time for it. The advantage we have is that information on a website is available on demand."

Musicurry.com has cartoons on music, a top ten countdown, and Yellow Pages that help potential buyers look for music instruments, stereo systems and related stuff. But the website's USP is the `Online Guruji' programme that allows students of classical music to learn on the web.

They plan to start an online web-based music company that will promote new talent. "At least a hundred new artists will be launched this very year. We have already received over 500 applications, and are receiving at least 25-50 new ones each day," says Mandar.

Adinath Mangeshkar is able to enlist the help of the Mangeshkar sisters to enrich the contents of the website, apart from lending it brand value. Usha has been named consultant of the music company, and Lata registered her condemnation of the attack on George Harrison a couple of months ago. Mandar does not fight shy to admit that the first family of Hindi film music is a valuable source of information too. He says, "The film industry is happy to note that Adinath is involved in this project. Even Aamir Khan expressed his appreciation of our website."

Incidentally, another thing musicurry.com is gaining fame for is its unconventional workplace in Pune. "We have around 70 people who are allowed to come in and leave when they like, take a nap in office bedrooms, and design their own work station. In fact, they sometimes come in for a shower or to play pool! I like the idea of an informal work setting, because I believe that's the best way of getting good work," says Mandar.

It's time to rework that company name.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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