Rochak Kohli, the man who composed the soulful Meer-e-kaarwan in Lucknow Central, talks to Suranjana Biswas about how he ditched a career in law to follow his heart.
It’s never easy to switch tracks, less still give up a career in law in favour of music but Rochak Kohli was determined to follow his passion. “Even law demands a lot of creativity and that’s what drew me to that stream. I come from a family of lawyers and so law was an obvious choice for me but while I was studying law, I was also doing a lot of theatre and music. I got myself admitted to law school and attended court for a month or two before I decided to venture into the world of music. Finally, I joined a radio station. I started composing jingles, which was the beginning of my career in music. In 2013, I quit my radio job and gave everything to music,” he says.
Kohli is very grateful to the makers of the film for a crystal-clear brief. He says, “The brief of the producer and the director is very important. Credit goes to Ranjit (Tiwari) and Nikkhil (Advani). This song has a journey. We enjoyed the process because we were true to the film’s story. I am very happy to have got such a great brief so that I could come up with a good song.”
Talking about his popular number – Har gully mein Dhoni hai, Kohli says, “The man for whom we were making the song is one of the biggest cricket heroes in our country. The inspiration came from the man himself. This song has also gained a lot of popularity during the promotion of the film.”
On collaborations, he says, “My best collaboration has been with Ayushmann. Paani da raang was a huge hit. What is closer to my heart is Mitti di khushboo. I still get tweets and messages about that song. Recently, I met Manoj Muntashir, who is a fabulous writer. Our last song Rozana is very close to my heart as well.”
Sometimes, remaking an old song is pure business, feels Kohli. “This industry is dependent on the box office. Often, a film doesn’t work but the music becomes a hit. Music labels do this to revive their copyright because copyright for any product lapses after 60 years.”
Kohli believes technology is a boon as it can work wonders. “It used to take an entire day to record a single song whereas in recent times it can take as little as an hour. It saves time and also makes the music sound more refined. Of course, it is important to retain the organic value of music,” he says. Playback singers can work as independent artistes, he says, adding, “An artiste always aims to satisfy his or her creative urge and simultaneously their pocket as well. And the creative urge cannot be satisfied if the pocket is empty. We have diverse cultures in our country and I hope music companies will slowly tap into the amazing talents we have and help them grow.”
Kohli says he has plenty on his plate at present. “I am very excited about Lucknow Central. Then there’s Qareeb Qareeb Single coming up along with Aiyaary. I am also working for Vidhu Vinodh Chopra.”