Rohan Gokhale and Rohan Pradhan, popularly known as Rohan-Rohan have composed music for films like Ventilator, Bucket List, Marathi Big Boss, Radha Prem Rangi Rangali (title track), among others. Now, the young composer duo has taken their big step in Bollywood by composing the music for Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju, which they call a ‘perfect launch pad’. They have composed a couple of tracks for the film, which is based on the life of Sanjay Dutt.
Gokhale says that they started working on the project around two years ago. “We had done the music for Ventilator and Raju sir, after watching the film, called Rajesh Mapuskar (director of Ventilator) to ask about us. He also wanted to know if we would be interested in composing the music for his forthcoming film. By then, we knew that his upcoming film was Sanju because there was so much buzz about it. Naturally, we were pretty excited about it,” explains Gokhale.
The first track from the film Main Badhiya Tu Bhi Badhiya is already a chartbuster. Picturised on Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, the song has got an old-world feeling to it. Their second song too has a retro feel. “The second song, which is still not out, plays live in a restaurant/pub. It’s picturised on young Sanjay Dutt (Ranbir) and we had to create something on those lines. Here, Ranbir tries to lip sync the song,” he adds.
Gokhale, who is an engineer-turned-musician, says that Rajkumar has a thorough style of working and they had multiple sessions on the songs with lyricist and singers. “Raju sir believes that songs are a part of his film’s narrative and not just there for promotional purpose,” says he, to which Pradhan adds, “In fact, it’s because of filmmakers like him, that it becomes easy to work on songs which are a part of the narrative. Their briefs are absolutely clear.”
The other tracks in the film have been composed by A R Rahman and Vikram Montrose. Sharing an album with Rahman is a matter of huge honour, but it can also bring pressure. However, Pradhan says that more than pressure, what they felt was happiness. “We were happy that Rahman sir was on board. It is a lifetime opportunity to share album credit with him. We felt a sense of responsibility that a master filmmaker had given us an opportunity to be a part of such a phenomenal film,” he says.
Ask them if the working styles in both the industries (Marathi and Hindi) are any different and Pradhan replies, “Yeah, but not with Raju sir. He works exactly as we do in regional cinema. Generally, all the songs that we see in regional films take the story forward. In Hindi, most of the time, they pick a song and put it in the situation, which is really sad.”
In a short span of time, the duo have created some very successful tracks. The composers reply, “It’s because we have kept our music simple. We believe that as long as our tracks are simple, hummable and connect with everyone, it does not really matter what genre or language it is. The song has to make sense and also be catchy. It adds up to the responsibility, because people have started expecting a lot more from us. So we try to reinvent ourselves and make sensible and good songs.”
But despite the name and fame coming their way, the duo believe that they still have a long way to go. “The struggle is still on. It’s just the beginning for us. We are happy to be a part of good films and work with talented directors and cast. We hope that we maintain the trust that people have put in us,” adds Pradhan, who is working on several projects with Gokhale, including Madhuri Dixit’s debut Marathi production 15th August, Gashmeer Mahajani and Pooja Sawant starrer Bonus along with a couple of Hindi projects.
While working on a project, how do they balance between a film’s situation and their ideas? Pradhan, who was born into a musical family and started composing music very early, replies, “It’s a cumulative effort.” Gokhale adds, “There are many ways to approach a situation. We come up with different ideas and sit with the director. Whatever idea works in harmony with the script of the film, we go with that. I believe it’s a balance between what the music and the film wants to say.”
The composers believe that their diverse backgrounds help them collaborate successfully. “We have our own individual ways of approaching music. Usually, we are on the same page and we proactively come up with ideas and choose the better option,” says Gokhale and Pradhan adds, “That said, we are yet to discover the secret behind our successful collaboration.”