Regal Entertainers was one of the most popular show bands in Durban

Regal Entertainers. Pictures: Supplied

Regal Entertainers. Pictures: Supplied

Published Jan 26, 2024


During the 1950s, Indian music performance with live bands was sought after. Audiences flocked to venues to get a taste of authentic live performances and thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. No major event occurred without live entertainment, and this was especially true of weddings.

This was an opportunity for the advent of live bands, and it was in 1953 that Regal Entertainers was started by Surujpaul Gurawa, an excellent musician, composer and arranger. The band gained popularity quickly and became well known throughout Durban and its surrounding areas.

They specialised in popular film music and performed the film songs to their own special music arrangements.

After some time, Mohan Jagunandan, Gurawa’s brother-in-law, became the band leader. He was an exponent of many instruments and took the group to new heights. Jugunandan introduced new instruments, like the sitar and santoor, that were previously unheard of in bands.

During this time, many other bands were coming up and this led to show promoters to come up with the idea of band contests. Regal Entertainers, having become one of the most popular show bands, of course, participated in these contests. Being the forerunners in music at that time, they went on to win many of the contests - sweeping the board in all categories.

The band had a long reign of 47 years. Many musicians, who were part of Regal Entertainers, went on to form their own bands during these years. Up to this day, the band is spoken of with great respect.

Musicians like Gurawa and Jagunandan were legendary and have definitely paved the way for the generations that followed.

Rajive Mohan is a sound engineer and music composer and the leader of the band Dilkash


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