The son of renowned Dhrupad exponent, the late Chaturbhuj Rathod, Roopkumar is the brother of Shravan Rathod (of Nadeem – Shravan fame) and Vinod Rathod. Roopkumar started his career as a percussionist and by the age of 18 was one of the most sought after tabla players in the country.
Roopkumar nevertheless trained as a vocalist under his father and Ustaad Niyaz Ahmed Khansaheb. It was only after a concert with his father that Roopkumar began singing Ghazals, even though he had accompanied many of the popular Ghazal vocalists of the time as a percussionist.
His first solo Ghazal album called Parwaaz was released in 1986 and since then there’s been no looking back. In1983 he met Sunali another upcoming vocalist on the Ghazal scene and married her in 1989.The duo has produced several hit albums like Ishara, Mitwa, Khushbu, Mohabbat Ho Gayee, Bazme Meer, Pyaar Ka Jashn, Vaada, Mannpasand, Kalma etc .
Roopkumar sang playback for the first time under the baton of Laxmikant Pyarelal in the film Gumraah. The song ‘Main Tera Aashiq Hoon’ became a hit but the turning point came after he sang ‘Sandese Aate Hain’ from Border.Since then there has been a stream of hits, including ‘Maula Mere’ from Anwar, ‘Tere Liye’ from Veer Zara and ‘Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai’ from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
Sunali also has a classical background, having trained under the illustrious Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Ustaad Fayyaz and Niyaz Ahmed of the Kirana school of music. She began as a recording artiste with an EP of Gujarati songs and has since released albums of ghazals, bhajans, khayals, tappas and pop. Sunali’s first ghazal album was ‘Aghaaz’ in 1987.
The variety of repertoire has made them very popular performers on the Ghazal circuit, for Bollywood events and Sufi concerts, apart from the ubiquitous wedding shows.
Zikr Tera is the latest Ghazal album produced by the duo on the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary in December 2014.
Both Roop and Sunali still train under a young virtuoso called Mubaarak Ali Khan of the Kirana gharana. They have an extremely talented daughter called Reewa, a vocalist, pianist and composer in her own right.