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Interviews |  15 Apr 2016 18:11 |  By RnMTeam

Singers these days have talent but lack potential: Roop Kumar Rathod

MUMBAI: At the beginning of the interview itself, Roop Kumar Rathod sets the tone for the dialogue. Slowly but surely, he brushes off our queries about his early life and career, talks about the current scenario in the music industry and shares his point-blank observations. Needless to say, it turns out to be an engaging conversation with the GiMa award winner.


Your new ghazal album ‘Tera Zikr’ fetched you a Gima award. How does it feel?

Wow is the word. It feels good to see ghazals again making their way into mainstream music. Otherwise, the genre has been languishing on the sidelines of Bollwywood music.

Why did it take you five to six years to launch a new album?

During this period, my wife Sunali and I did produce an album ‘Kalma’ but it lacked publicity. Therefore, not many know about it. Talking about ‘Tera Zikr’, we chose our 25th wedding anniversary, a perfect time to release the album for which we received a return gift in the form of an award from the jury.

People are still eager to consume ghazals. In what way do you think the genre could reach youngsters?

As an artist, I can tell you, it is the duty of a singer to entertain the audience but in a way, that saves your heritage and touches the soul of listeners. Surprisingly, youth today, come and ask us about the meaning of certain Urdu words we use in ghazals. That is something overwhelming, which means ghazals are already reaching youngsters.

Although Bollywood songs are more popular, their shelf life is limited, as against  ghazals which are evergreen. Do you share the same thought?

I am glad you asked that. If you take lyrics of the song ‘Mein toh Superman, Salman da fan’ the lyrics are fabricated just to rhyme. Such songs provoke youth to copy obscene words. In addition, newer songs lack the creativity and passion of ghazals. Hence, they do not last for long.

Another ghazal legend, Ghulam Ali said, “Rap is spoiling culture of music”. Do you agree?

Rap is a misunderstood art. If you recall Ashok Kumar’s ‘Rail Gadi Rail Gadi’, it was an ideal example of rap. In my younger days, I used to play the ‘tabla’ accompanied by a poem. The verses delivered, exactly personified the meaning. Unfortunately, rappers now miss the required substance. Whether, ‘Lungi Dance’ or any other rap song, there is no substance. Otherwise, no music is bad.

Has your singing style been inspired or influenced by anyone?

Once I heard Ghulam Ali Khan, believe me, I felt mesmerised. Ghulam Saheb was the personality I was influenced by, followed by Mehdi Hassan and Jagjit Singh.

Did you have to face much of a struggle in your career?

The journey has been a tough one so far. Today's generation has so many new platforms to display their talent. We were restricted to a limited few. Now, you have so many reality shows to give you break.

Why is the fame acquired by singers these days fleeting?

This is happening because singers have talent but they lack potential. They are running to win a platform or title. They do not crave learning for its own sake. Training, a necessary key, is skipped due to shortage of time.  A profound singer is one, “Jo tap tap ke sona banta hai”.

Which contemporary singer do you think has the voice for singing ghazals?

Mohamad Vakil, Alap Desai have the sound quality in their voices. Even Raja Hassan sings extremely well. I do not know where he is nowadays though.

Lastly, what are your upcoming projects?

I will be doing a few radio shows and we are going to launch the second part of my album soon this year.