Roop Kumar Rathod and Sunali Rathod launched their new album Mann Pasand on Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM. In a unique jugalbandi with
How long have you both been together?
Sunali: Nineteen years, I guess, our daughter, Reewa, is 18.
Roop: Actually it’s two decades.. they’ve passed off in a flash.
And there’s never been an 'Abhimaan' situation since both of you are in the same profession?
Roop: No way! It’s healthy competition. We never tried to outdo each other, only make the other a better singer. Her tips have always worked for me, they’ve improved the quality of my songs.
Sunali: We’re more friends than husband and wife and that works because we’re open-minded about everything including criticism. Roop is more commercially inclined, he knows what works in the market. So his advice comes in handy. I’m more into classical music but he’s an all-rounder.
Are you still romatic?
Roop: (Laughs) Of course. I am still 17 and she’s 16.. it’s just that we have an 18 year-old daughter.
Sunali: (Smiles shyly) We often travel around the world for shows. The tour usually ends in a mini family holiday. Of course, Reewa can’t go with us every time. Then it’s just the two of us.. though we miss not having her around.
Reewa was studying music abroad, right?
Sunali: She was. She’s completed her course at the Royal School in London. She’s an A-grade pianist. She’s learning Carnatic vocals now. She will soon be cutting her own album.
With lots of help from dad, mum, uncles and cousins, no doubt?
Sunali: Technically we’re all there for her. But it’s a tradition in our family that everyone does their own thing professionally. No one is given a launch. No one launched Roop. Even bhaisaab (Shravan) didn’t launch his sons, Sanjeev and Darshan.
'Mann Pasand' is your 15th album together. Is it different from the first?
Roop: Well, I guess, we’ve evolved as singers. But this album still feels like our firstborn.
Sunali: We created this album on public demand. We got so many mails asking us to cut our album together.. the last one was six years ago. We’ve incorporated different genres to suit everyone’s tastes.
But albums are no longer selling.
Sunali: If we think that way, after a decade, there will be no record of one’s work. Just because albums are selling less, it doesn’t mean we have to stop creating them. There are still some people who will not illegally download from the Internet and will buy a CD.
Roop, your song Tujh mein rab dikhta hai from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was popular. But few associate the song with you.
Roop: I’m a bad publicist and in our country, singers never get their due. People ask about the composer, they know the actors on whom the song was picturised but no one cares whose voice they are listening to.
Sunali: That’s changing now. I’ve got calls asking if it’s my husband’s voice. I get SMSes praising his songs.
You don’t sing for too many Bollywood movies.. why?
Roop: I prefer ‘live’ shows. I started my musical career on stage as a tabla player. So, I still enjoy interacting with the crowd. Nothing can match that experience. I am satisfied if I have three hit movie songs a year. People still remember Ankhein teri from Anwar even though it came three years ago. That’s good enough.
Buzz is that Roop and Shravan have broken up.
Sunali: I’d like to answer that. We’re still one family. Bhaisaab was there for the album release. There are no issues between us. Everyone talks about rifts because Roop has never sung for his brother. But one doesn’t need to work with his family members to prove that they are one big happy family.