A small tribute to Nikhil Mehta, our founding father
September 23rd marks our company’s birthday for several initiatives. On this day…
- 1977: First recording done at Sudeep Studio, Andheri (one of the first home-based pro studio in India)
- 1999: Domain name registered with Network Solutions, USA
- 2003: SudeepAudio.com – India’s first full-fledged online store launched
- 2017: Pro Audio games (world’s first) portal for education in audio launched
The primary source of inspiration (and action) behind the above achievements has been NIKHIL MEHTA (my father). A reserved, camera-shy and a self-taught sound engineer, who by education was the topper in M.Sc. Inorganic Chemistry from Bombay University! It was his own upbringing by an intelligent and kind father, Jyotendra, alongwith other siblings living in a joint family that made him an expert at electronics in his childhood.
Nikhil started a corrugation plant at Charkop, Mumbai that made boxes for Eagle and Milton flasks. Some financial theft by a partner made him switch to working with Parmanand Patel (owner of VAMA, Peddar Road & producer of the Hindi film Saraswati Chandra). In this company, Nikhil repaired oscilloscopes and handled other technical jobs for some Hungarian manufacturers. After his marriage at the age of 35 to Sudha (now a professional translator), Nikhil started an Electronics training institute (opp. Shoppers Stop, Andheri) and also a music store at Laram Centre, opp. Andheri Station selling records and record players, radios, etc. in the year 1972. He named it Sudeep Electronics. (Sudeep = pure light, and not any family member’s name).
As a question of prestige, he then ended up setting up a recording studio at his home and did his first commercial recording on Sep 23, 1977! More on the studio history is covered in the video below – my first and last with him (shot in Jan 2021: after 10 years of constant persuasion). Nikhil’s last official job as a sound recordist was recording some folk instruments for songs in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, Ram Leela (2013). In the same year, he also initiated the publishing of a biography on his illustrious grand-father, Sir Lallubhai Samaldas by the National Book Trust, New Delhi (author: Aparna Basu).
All children feel that their father (and mother) are the greatest in the world. And rightly so. For me, my father and my then girlfriend (now wife), Prachi, were the only two people who believed in my mad idea of selling studio gear and software online in the year 1999/2000.
When i got the job to handle RJ auditions for Radio Mirchi, Ahmedabad station in November 2001, Pops (as i fondly called him) setup curtains overnight in our basement studio so that the auditioning team does not see the candidate entering the studio premises, and also while he/she is talking on the microphone! “This will ensure that the person being selected is for his or her voice, and not looks!”, he said.
The converSAtions YouTube channel (another first of its kind in India) was started in the year 2010 to honour sound engineers like him, who work tirelessly behind-the-scenes, and ensure that the final audio output is the best in terms of quality. Pappa refused to come on camera for this, and took over the reigns of editing and uploading the videos on the channel instead! A self-taught man all his life, it was also amazing to see him make Bluetooth pre-amps from waste materials like empty cheese boxes until the year 2021 (at age 86)!
Someone who never worked with an aim to make money, Pappa always ensured that the job undertaken was done ethically, completed on time and is done very well. i could go on… but then it would be better to try and incorporate his values and ethics into my own life, than just talk about someone who i will now miss dearly… everyday.
Pops, you will always live in the hearts of all those you have ever met… or recorded.
Here are a few messages received on his passing on 2nd September, 2021…
Some more press clippings on Nikhil Mehta…
|Eulogy for Nikhil Mehta
PALM Technology Magazine (Nov-Dec 2021 issue)
|converSAtions with Sudeep Audio – 10th anniversary of the channel
PALM Technology Magazine (May-June 2021 issue)
|The 40 year old Sudeep Studio journey
YourStory.com (March 2017)
|Made For Music
MansWorld Magazine (February 2016)
|Our commitment is deep rooted – 10th anniversary of the webstore
Pro Sound Systems Magazine (October 2013)
A true legend. God bless 🙂