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14 Music in Jewish Calcutta

Ellis Joshua

Ellis Joshua and Om Puri, co-owners of Trincas

Josh Joshua and Om Puri, co-owners of Trincas


Ellis Joshua (Josh)

Ellis’s family was evacuated from Rangoon in 1942, and he managed to get himself a job as the Kitchen Order Ticket Writer at the salary of Rs. 50 a month. Josh very quickly worked his way up to the manager’s office and was responsible for organizing the theme nights on Saturday and Sunday nights for which Prince’s was famous. Prince’s was known for bringing some of the top artists around the world to the fabled club, and it was Josh’s idea to have printed leaflets to announce the performing artists.

Josh later partnered with his friend Om Puri to buy Trinca in 1959 when Trinca and Flury parted ways. The original Flury's & Trinca, was a tea room on Park Street that was started in 1926 and run by two Swiss gentlemen. In 1936 Trinka bought Trincas across the Road from them as another tea room. Josh and Puri reinvented Trincas as a restaurant and night club. Puri had worked with Josh at Oberoi’s and the two brought the knowledge of Calcutta’s famed night life to their new enterprise to make it the most happening spot in Calcutta.

Trincas grew a national reputation for its live music and some of India’s best artists performed there. From famous crooners Molly and Eve in the early 1960s to diva Usha Uthup in the 1970s, Trincas has been a launching pad for many artists. Usha often recounts how it was Josh who first noticed Usha Uthup, the Malyali girl singing Western music in a traditional sari, and hired her for the nightclub where she performed to raving audiences. Trincas also promoted Western music bands such as Chris Perry, Trojans, Flintstone, Savages, Beat Four and Checkered Tricycle.