A Candid Talk With Rohan Gokhale, The Nagpur Music Composer Making Waves In Showbiz!

Another engineer bites the dust! :p

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1. We know that you are an engineer. What made you to venture into the music industry?

It started in my school, BVM. We had a group instrumental competition and I played the harmonica then. Surprisingly, we won and that made me develop more interest in music. No one from my family has ever been in music, I never played any instrument till the age of 15, just out of curiosity I started playing the harmonica lying at home, and that started it. I eventually shifted to keyboards and guitars. My school senior, Ali Akbar Chimthanawala was my first idol. He played the keyboard amazingly.

During my engineering days, I was in the college band. This is when music started turning out to be more than just a hobby for me. It was by end of my graduation that I started giving serious thought about venturing into music. Luckily, I got placed into an IT company in Mumbai which, played a big part in my decision too.

After a song with tochi raina.

2. How supportive was your family about it? Any funny anecdotes?

As there was nobody from a musical background in the family, everyone was initially considering it a hobby, like any other.  But they supported it nevertheless. My mother bought me my first guitar. My dad got me my first electric one. But they would always emphasize on finishing my graduation first and then trying out whatever I wanted.

They were concerned about me quitting my job and getting into music, but gave me time to try it out. And that’s all I wanted.

My friends have been the source of some funny incidents. When I used to tell them of my musical aspirations, some of them would be like “Main apni shaadi mein tujhe bajane bulaunga!”

3. Tell us about your journey from the un-glamorous Nagpur to glamorous world of Mumbai?

Hahaha, Nagpur has it’s own glamour! In Nagpur, you play a good guitar solo with some gimmicks at a college event and you are instantly famous.

But music is much more than just playing others’ songs. I was always more inclined at composing, making my own music, rather than sitting for hours to practice a song that someone else has made.

And Mumbai made me realise how small I was, like a drop in the ocean. Music here is more than just glamour, it is expression, passion and a way of life for many. I had no contacts here, no family legacy to get an entry into the entertainment industry, so I started with making music for nursery rhymes, cartoon shows and then eventually got to ads and movies. It was a difficult period of my career. I had work on weekdays, so I could get only weekends to learn and develop contacts in the industry.

So, the day my bond got over, I quit my IT job, thinking there was nothing to lose now.

With Sonu Nigam for a song in Kaul Manacha.

4. What was your first major break in the industry?

Although I was doing a lot of ads and serial scores, the first break came from Universal Records. As you know, I work with another Rohan (Rohan Pradhan). We had composed a single called “Zindagi”. We shot a video in Nagpur and took it to Universal. They saw it once and we got a call that they will make a VEVO channel for us and release the song under their label.

All my life, I wanted to be associated with Universal Records, and I never expected that they would make a VEVO channel for us. I used to listen to songs of all international artists on YouTube on VEVO like coldplayVEVO, BryanadamsVEVO, and having a channel RohanRohanVEVO was a dream! That was a special day.

5. Tell us about the role your family and friends played in your success.

One will always find supporters and critics everywhere, and I feel both are equally necessary. Supporters give encouragement and inspiration, critics provide the necessary determination we need to improve ourselves.

I have been blessed with more support than negative criticism, and it has brought me here.

6. What was the most challenging part of your journey and how did you overcome it?

The realization that one must follow passion was a trigger for the challenge ahead, once I had realized I want to be in music, the wait was a challenge.

Once I left my IT job, the other challenge was to find contacts and get an entry into the industry, which is dominated by lobbies and families.

Everything took time and eventually I started somewhere. The challenges are not yet over for me.

At the music launch Kaul Manacha at hands of Akshay Kumar and Dimple Kapadia.

7. Who are your favorite music directors?

I admire the compositions of SD Burman and Jatin-Lalit in Hindi cinema, and the scores of James Horner and Hans Zimmer in Hollywood films.

8. One singer you would love to work with in future?

I would love to work with the legend Asha Bhosle if I ever get the right song and opportunity.

9. Any projects you are currently working on?

My upcoming projects are Ventilator, Kaul Manacha and Dr Rakhmabai. And there are a couple of Hindi films currently in post production.

With Jitendra Joshi for Ventilator.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Same place, making music, that’s all. No such destinations in life, as long as I get to do what I love the most, everyday is a great experience.

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Niranjan Deshpande (WRITER)

An absent-minded introvert who likes to gobble up anything he may find on the internet. Armchair philosophist, gamer and an avid tennis lover. Loves to theorise about how humanity is going to finish itself.