Rochak Kohli: Hook lines are true motivation to compose songs

Rochak Kohli speaks composing his fun song in an upcoming comedy film, his take on actors singing songs in their film and more

Rochak Kohli, who made a striking debut in Bollywood with his song ‘Pani Da Rang’ in Vicky Donor, has a line-up of films ahead of him. In a candid chat, he speaks about his upcoming kick-ass song ‘Tashreef’ in Bank Chor, his association with Ayushmann Khurrana and his journey in Bollywood so far. Excerpts from the interview…

Tell us something about the Tashreef song.
The song is extremely close to my heart. Actually, ‘Tashreef’ because the tune came when I was in the loo, sitting on the pot! That’s true! Well, the brief was to make a song for complete losers, and should be totally relatable with the audiences too. I was thrilled when a reviewer wrote: ‘Rochak has sung the song like a complete loser.’

With such a hook line in the song, how fun it was to compose the song?
Hook lines, most of the times are true motivation to compose and produce film music. It defines the entire scene in front of you and then it’s like painting a picture. In this case, we knew that we have a very innovative track, and each effort to complete it was in the same direction.

What is it that goes in the writer’s and composer’s mind when you create a song?
I guess sticking to the brief is very important. The writer and the composer have to be on the same page, and should be very quick in responding to each other. The most important thing is that both needs to be extremely open and strict in moving on to another thought if one is not working.

Tell us about your background. How did always have an inclination towards music?
AR Rahman Sir’s ‘Dil se’ got my first cassette that I got from my pocket money, and that changed my life. I was introduced to music earlier by my mother through old classics and Ghazals, but never thought of making it my career. I did my LLB and even started practicing Law, when I decided to shift my career and try media. My interest in theatre and music got me a job in radio where I spent seven years which also got me to Mumbai from Chandigarh. I was working for 92.7 Big FM where I started as an RJ and was eventually heading National Programming. I learnt a lot in my corporate stint, won several national and international awards, and sharpened my knowledge of music. ‘Pani Da Rang’ happened during this time. However, I started composing film music full time after 2013.

You had expressed your wishes of learning music some time ago. Have you started with it already?
I ran from a piano class three times, but I am determined to learn it full time by this year. I guess learning is a constant process, it should never stop. As times are changing, we have to change our skills too.

You have had a long association with Ayushmann Khurrana. Tell us about it.
We have been buddies since school. AK (Ayushmann Khurrana) is a big star today, the whole world follows him, and he still shares the same bond with me.

These days even actors are trying their hand in singing. What is your view on the same?
The industry gives everyone a fair chance, whether you are a new singer, or an actor who wants to sing. We are no ones to judge anyone. The audience writes it all in black and white. Having said that, we also need to understand that we work for a ‘commercial’ Industry, which depends highly on the Box-office. A song sung by an actor is a huge marketing asset, and creates a nice buzz around the film. It is great innovative too I would say.

From the actors who have tried their hand in singing, who do you think has a real potential?
I think Ayushmann has proved it already. I am also a fan to Parineeti Chopra’s voice. Farhan started the trend and still leads it. My all time favourite is Mr Amitabh Bachchan, who is beyond comparison. He was also generous enough to sing ‘Atrangi yaari’ for me.

How has your journey in Bollywood been so far?
It’s been full of challenges and that’s why it is very interesting. Each day I come to my studio with a new thought or tune in my head. The determination each day, to become a better musician than yesterday, keeps makes the journey worth it.

What’s next?
A couple of good film projects like Lukhnow Central, Kareeb Kareeb Single, untitled – Vinod Chopra Production’s upcoming film, and a few more scheduled to release between this year and the next year.

-Milana Rao

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