Hyderabad: Caps never go out of style. The same goes for the Mohammed Cap Mart (MCM). Whatever the occasion, here you get the cap that matches your personality. Whether it is the traditional baseball cap, beanies, visors, bucket cap, safari cap, Rampuri cap, Jinnah cap, Afghan cap, Omani cap, the Sudanese cap, the Shergola cap, the embroidered cap, the designer Rumi topi, the graduation cap, the police cap or the cowboy. Hats. You name it, MCM has it. With 5000 varieties of corks to choose from, you really are spoiled for choice here.
In its 120th year, the MCM still remains the top choice for people looking for a new headgear. Recently, during a wedding in a certain Sexena family in the old town, a problem arose because the old “Gundi cap” turned out to be worn out. There is a tradition in this family that the bride and groom don the Gundi cap on D-Day. The family immediately got in touch with Ilyas Bukhari, the owner of MCM. And in no time the bonnet was fixed and the groom was riding happily through the baraat with his head held high.
This run-down Patharghatti market in the heart of the old town is a one-stop-shop for all headwear needs. Whether it’s a religious program you want to attend, a traditional wedding, a sporting event, or just want to impersonate your favorite hero, MCM is the right place. Some people have a fetish for hats and go on a collecting spree. Dev Anand’s Jewel Thief cap was all the rage in the 60s, as was the Nepali cap worn by Rajesh Khanna in the movie Dushman. Bukhari remembers selling thousands of these caps.
Even now youngsters come here in search of Salman Khan’s Maine Pyar Kiya cap and caps of other Bollywood celebrities like Ranbir Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Amitabh Bachan. There is also demand for our very own Hyderabadi star – the Gullu Dada cap.
You want to equip yourself with the right headgear, there is no better place than the MCM. There are caps and caps of all shapes and sizes here. From a crocheted cap costing only Rs. 60 to a leather cap worth Rs. 75,000 – the price range and variety is really wide. If you want custom made hats with a printed company logo, MCM is for that too.
Hats off to Ilyas Bukhari, the MCM keeps pace with the latest headwear trends. When the elections come around, the MCM becomes a hive of activity. Not just caps, it provides T-shirts, flags, kanduvas and banners for all major political parties. On the streets, candidates from rival parties may be at each other’s throats, but they all come to the MCM for their election needs. Bukhari never lets them down. It engages additional hands for the manufacture of electoral material.
It was in 1902 that Peer Mohammed founded the cap shop. It was the time when everyone wore one cap or the other – no matter what religion they belonged to. No one left their house bareheaded those days. The 6th Nizam, Mir Mehboob Ali Khan and his son, the last Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, wore red Rumi Topi – also called “fez” and a Turkish cap. They were a bit short so opted for 6 inch tall Rumi Topi so that when interacting with foreign dignitaries they could look them straight in the eye. The Salar Jungs sported elegant sherwanis and dastars (headgear).
Sign of aristocracy and tehzeeb Hyderabadi, the Rumi Topi has lost none of its charm. On the contrary, he made his comeback. Late youngsters can be seen making a style statement with it. There is a story of how Rumi Topi connotes different things depending on how one wears it. If you keep his phunna (glans) at the back, it means you are a serious and worthy man. If the cap is worn at a slender angle, it indicates the wearer is a single, fun-seeking man, Bukhari says.
The MCM was originally located at Machili Kaman near Charminar before moving to its current premises near the Taj Building in 1939. And today it has grown into an iconic store spread over 35,000 square feet. The four-story department store offers different products on each floor. Bukhari still has his thinking hat on. Although caps are his USP, he didn’t stop there.
Over the years, he has diversified his business by offering a full range of goods and services under one roof. From caps to prayer rugs, school bags, jackets, rugs, home furnishings, ethnic wear, rainwear and Haj ‘ihram’ – there is a mind-boggling variety of products which can be found here.
Initially, along with Ilyas Bukhari, his other three brothers – Ayub Bukhari, Yunus Bukhari and Yousuf Bukhari were all in the same profession. But their father, Mohammad Yakub Bukhari, handed the MCM to Ilyas Bukhari as he believed he would take it to greater heights.
The latter lived up to expectations and added many new products to the cap shop. In 2015, he opened an exclusive ethnic clothing for the modern man under the brand – Jahanpanah. Today it has 29 branches in the Twin Cities and other parts of Telangana. Jahanpanah also has its footprints in Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Vishakapatnam and Vijayawada. Another showroom is in sight at Behrampur in Orissa. His two sons, Ishaq Bukhari and Ibrahim Bukhari run the Jahanpanah clothing line.
Bukhari wears many hats. For the past two decades, he has specialized in selling velor prayer rugs. Come Ramzan, a month-long exhibition with sale of imported prayer rugs is unveiled. One can get the best prayer rugs from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Belgium at prices that are not heavy on the pocket. “One can offer ‘namaz’ on the same type of carpets as those laid in the great mosques of Mecca and Medina,” Bukhari says.
Starting from a minimum of Rs. 40 square feet to Rs. 200, ‘musallas’ are available in different price ranges. Not just Ramzan, in other seasons devotees also head to MCM to get prayer rugs for their homes and local mosques. A good number of NRIs also donate it to mosques on behalf of their deceased relatives. There is no limit to his creativity and passion. In recent times, Bukhari has made MCM a hub for the sale of Ihram, the unstitched two-piece cloth for Haj and Umrah pilgrims. Not only that, it also provides necessary items for pilgrims undertaking the Badrinath yatra.
Twenty five different items like bag, gloves, socks, jacket, caps come in a kit costing Rs. 4500. That is not all. You can also buy colorful abayas, quality rainwear and winter jackets here. Starting from as little as Rs. 750 to Rs. 3500, they are available in various styles and designs. To mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, the MCM has decided to offer a 10% discount on a wide range of its products.