Roopkumar is the son of the late Pandit Chaturbhuj Rathod, the classical luminary who groomed Kalyanji – Anandji and singer Manhar. Roop Kumar chose to continue his father's legacy and learnt the tabla and began to play with Pankaj Udhas and Anup Jalota. He played the tabla for Shyam Benegal's 'Discovery of India', for ghazals, Qawaalis, Bhajans sung by Lata Mangeshkar, performed on stage. He was even called for select songs like those of Laxmikant – Pyarelal’s Sur Sangam.His first love still remains playing the tabla, a passion he gave up in 1984 to start a new career in the field of singing. He entered the world of ghazals. Soon after carving his niche in ghazals, he established himself as a good playback singer to reckon with, while experimenting with fusion music and giving music concerts with Gurtu and others. He still learns the nuances of ghazal singing from his guru Ustad Niyaz Ahmed Khan.
Roopkumar Rathod got his first break in Bollywood as a playback singer by Laxmikant – Pyarelal in Angaar (1992), starring Jackie Shroff and Dimple Kapadia. Filmmaker Shashilal Nair convinced Laxmikant to offer him the job. Rathod lent his voice in films like Bhairavi (1996) (‘Om Namah Shivaye…’ and ‘Moh maaya ko…’), Gumraah (1993) (‘Duniya kismat aur khuda…’ and ‘Main tera aashiq hoon…’), Mohabbat Ki Arzoo (1994) (‘Raha jo dil mein…’), and Tejaswini (1994). Anu Malik used his voice in ‘Barsaat ke mausam mein…’ in the film Naajayaz (1995), while Nadeem – Shravan gave him a few lines in Raja (1995) and an insignificant song in Andolan (1995) and some other films. In 1997, Rathod was finally established with his hit Border, music composed by Anu Malik, in which he sang ‘To chalun…’ and the chartbuster-award winner ‘Sandesein aate hain…’. Rathod continued his singing career with Anu Malik’s Hero Hindustani (1998) and Kareeb (1998) (‘Tum juda hokar humein…’), Anand – Milind’s Dahek (1999) and Hogi Pyar Ki Jeet (1999), Vishal’s Hu Tu Tu (1999) (all songs for Nana Patekar) and Godmother (1999), Raamlaxman’s Hum Saath Saath Hain: We Stand United (1999) (Sunoji dulhan ek baat suno ji…’). Rathod has also sung in Champion (2000) for Anu Malik, Censor (2001) (a qawwali) for Jatin – Lalit, and Sanjeev Darshan in Aashiq (2001). Rathod’s best songs include ‘Kho diye jitne lamhe…’ from Vinashak – Destroyer (1998), Jatin – Lalit’s ‘Zindagi maut na ban jaaye…’ from Sarfarosh (1999) and ‘Yeh zameen hai rehguzar…’ from Dillagi (1999) and ‘Khamosh raat…’ under A. R. Rahman for Thakshak (1999). ‘Chota sa mann hai…’ from Bas Itna sa Khwab Hai (2001) and ‘Le chalen doliyon mein…’ from Filhaal (2002) won him appreciation. He also lent his voice for songs in films like Gaja Gamini (2000), Gunaah (2002), Armaan (2003), and Madhoshi (2004). Rathod’s other popular songs post 2000 include ‘Mela dilon ka aata hai…’ from Mela (2000), ‘Mujhko dil se yehi shikayat…’ from Jism (2003), ‘Kandhon se milte hain kandhe…’ from Lakshya (2004), and ‘Yeh dhuan dhuan sa…’ from Tumsa Nahin Dekha (2004). ‘Tere liye…’ from Veer-Zaara (2004) and ‘Aankhein teri…’ from Anwar (2007) are among Rathod’s most popular tracks. Rathod also composed music for few films viz. Woh Tera Naam Tha (2004), Madhoshi (2004), Zeher (2005), Viruddh (2005), and Woh Lamhe (2006). Roop Kumar Rathod continues to be a leading composer – singer outside films and is open for films after the success of Mohabbat Ho Gayi.
He is composing music for the forthcoming film Mungilal Rocks (2008). Roop Kumar’s wife is Sonali Rathod (singer). His elder brother is Shravan Rathod (of the Nadeem-Shravan music-director duo) and his younger brother is Vinod Rathod (singer). Rathod’s “Aashirwaad” title song ‘Nanhi Si Muskaan’ and those of other television series like “Discovery of India”, “Badaltey Rishtey” and “Rishtey” are among his other accomplishments.