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Gajendra Verma's 'Emptiness': The Internet Myth of 'Rohan Rathore'

Still from the music video/YouTube.

Still from the music video/YouTube.

Verma said he was in college when the song was recorded. He had no idea why friends uploaded it on Youtube, and got a note of it after the song became viral on the internet.

It was a decade ago when a song based on unrequited love touched the hearts of thousands of youngsters in the country. We are talking about the song titled Emptiness that became a sensation across the nation. It was all over the internet and Indian music aficionados could not stop talking about it. Every store, restaurant and audio player had the song playing on loop.

So what made this song, which emerged from no popular music label or composer, so popular? Well, when the heart-wrenching song was released, a false story got attached to it and started circulating along with it: The story, which got leaked online was more of controversy but was heart touching. The sympathetic tale was about an IIT-Guwahati student, Rohan Rathore who composed the number for a girl. She never reciprocated his feelings. The legend has it that later, he wrote this song and died after 15 days of cancer. But the hitch is there is no Rohan Rathore. Nobody at IIT-G knew if such a person ever existed.

It is now a well-known fact that the song is sung by Gajendra Verma. When the song released, at 21 years old, he was studying audio engineering in Mumbai. The sound recordist later revealed that the song was written by his friend, writer Aseem Ahmed Abbasee. Many people started putting allegations on Verma for associating a fake story as a publicity stunt. It was the tragic story which made resonate with the song. Verma refuted claims that he and his friend Aseem cooked up a story to increase downloads.

He said he was in college when the song was recorded. He had no idea why friends uploaded it on Youtube, and got a note of it after the song became viral on the internet. “Why would I publicise my song using someone else’s name?” HT quoted him as saying in a 2011 news report. “I feel really bad when I see someone else’s name on my song. I don’t even know how Rohan Rathore’s name got attached to it. I know that the voice is mine,” confirmed Verma.

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Verma expressed his desire to counter the story. He said he would release the complete album with the other six songs and posted a slideshow of his pictures with the song on Youtube. “I had composed the tune for a project one-and-a-half years ago. I had sent the song to some people for feedback, and I think it got leaked then,” he shared.

The renowned singer-composer has come a long way since the song, Emptiness/Tune Mere Jaana. In 2018, his breakup track titled Tera Ghata became a massive hit, due to its heartfelt melody and astute lyricism. Other popular renditions in his discography are Mann Mera, Baarish, Tere Nashe Mein Choor, Ab Aaja, Main Aur Tu and Jaana Janna.

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first published:July 03, 2021, 11:56 IST