When you meet Arpit Rai for the first time, you can guess by his demeanour and way of speaking that he’s probably an “engineer guy” with a corporate job. Apart from these aspects, Arpit is also the creator of ghatiparty.com – a website meant purely to play curated songs that you can do graceless, ghati dance to. “I’m a hypocrite who pretends he doesn’t like ghati songs,” he says with a smile.
After he moved to Singapore, he would frequently meet and party with his Indian friends and acquaintances. Like most Indian millennials, they would drink and play dance music. “In the beginning we would play cool songs. As the parties would progress through the night, the music choice would change. The songs would get ghati-er, and the same people who would look down upon these songs, their outlook towards them would change. Even they would dance to the ghati numbers,” he explains.
You can tell that Arpit has a sense of humour because he has created four levels of ghatipan – ‘I’m Too Cool For This’, ‘Ghatipan In Control’, ‘Ghatipan Heaven’ and ‘Mix It All’. The first section is a playlist made of songs that you would hear at any party, such as ‘Closer’ by The Chainsmokers and ‘We Are Young’ by FUN. But after this, the ghatipan only increases. Ghatipan In Control has the kind of songs which will you need you throw in a matka and jhatka, such as ‘Balam Pichkari’ and ‘Tera Hero Idhar Hai’.
The best is, of course, Ghatipan Heaven, and we suggest that you practice your best Govinda and Karisma Kapoor moves before you play this section. How else will you keep up with songs like ‘Channe Ke Khet Mein’ and ‘Kabootar Ja Ja Ja’? Unsurprisingly, Arpit’s favourite song is from this section. “My favourite is ‘Sarkai Lo Khatiya’. (Laughs) Have you seen the dance they do in the video?” he says.
Arpit developed the idea at a time when the autoplay and playlist options did not exist on YouTube. “So you’d have to manually pick a song every time the previous one ended, which can be a pain. I wanted to solve that problem,” he explains. Someone randomly suggested that he create a website with curated playlists, and one drunken weekend of 2011, he acted on this drunken idea.
The website was relatively easy to make; one weekend is all it took. Arpit says that he did the coding whenever he had free time on his hands. The song selection and curation took more time, and he continues to update the playlists, but not as often as he used to in 2011. The Ghati Heaven section, however, is not updated, unless someone suggests an addition. This playlist seems to be reserved for evergreen classics.
So how does he decide whether a particular song has ghati potential? “I don’t really know. I listened to Govinda and Altaf Raja songs during the Nineties; you listen to a song and you just know that it is ghati,” he explains.
When ghatiparty.com was up and running, Arpit posted about it on Hacker Street and Twitter, and he got traffic from both these platforms. He says that many years ago, even Tanmay Bhat and Ashish Shakya of All India Bakchod (AIB) tweeted saying that they liked the website. Arpit has also been tweeted to by fans who say outrageous things like, “Main aapke charan dhona chahti hu.” Eventually, it began to gain popularity because people started using it during house parties, as well as recommending it to their friends. Still, when it comes to publicising the website, Arpit was not as aggressive as most other websites are.
The design of the website is rather simple, unlike other music websites like gaana.com or Sound Cloud. Arpit says that it has looked the same ever since it was set up. “The purpose that the website was serving was simple. I wanted it to be clean and do the job without overkill.” There are no ads either. “Ghatiparty.com does not earn any money, and it was never intended to,” he says.
Five years after the website was started, whenever people find out that Arpit started this website, they still find it cool. “Though I’m sure if I went around Mumbai telling people I made this website, I’d earn mad street cred!” he confesses.