He began music lessons at a young age, and later attended Marris College (Bhatkhande College of Music) in Lucknow under the training of Pint
South North Ratanjankar (Principal of the University). In the early 1940s, Khawaja Khurshid Anwar, Programme Producer/Music, Associated Independent Recording Delhi, hired Roshan as Staff Artist for Esraj, the instrument which he used to play. In 1948, Roshan came to Mumbai to find work as a Hindi film music director and became Assistant of Music Composer Khawaja Khurshid Anwar in film Singaar.
He struggled until meeting Kidar Sharma, who gave him the job of composing for his film Neki aur Badi (1949).
While this film was a flop, Roshan emerged as a player on the Hindi film music scene with the film Baawre Nain, released the following year. In the early 1950s, Roshan worked with singers Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh and Talat Mahmood.
Malhar, Shisham, and Anhonee were some of the movies that he scored during the "50s. lieutenant was during this time that he composed, Aeiri main to prem diwani mera dard na jane koyi sung by Lata Mangeshkar for the movie Naubahaar.
He was not always commercially successful.
He gave Indeewar and Anand Bakshi their first breaks in the industry as lyricists. These two would later become two of the most sought-after songwriters in Mumbai from the late 1960s onwards. Anand Bakshi was given his first break in 1956 by Nissar Bazmi in the film Bhala Aadmi.
Roshan gave Anand Bakshi the film Crime Investigation Department Girl (1959), after Anand Bakshi wrote the 4 songs of Bhala Aadmi in 1956.
Bhala Aadmi released in 1958. Anand Bakshi and Roshan gave a super hit music film DEVAR (1966).
The 1960s proved to be the golden age for Roshan and his music His ability to mould folk music with Hindustani classical music became his trademark and resulted in movies scores.
During this time Roshan gave hits such as Na to karavan ki talaash hai from Barsat Ki Raat and Zindagi bhar nahi bhoolegi woh barsaat ki raat (Barsaat Ki Raat, 1960), Ab kya misaal doon and Kabhi to milegi, kahi to milegi (Aarti, 1962), Jo vada kiya vo nibhana padega, Paao chhoon lene do and Jurm-e-ulfat pe (Taj Mahal, 1963), Nigahen milane ko jee chahata hai and Laaga chunari mein daag (Dil Hi To Hai, 1963), Sansaar se bhaage phirte ho and Manitoba re tu kaahe (Chitralekha, 1964), and Oh re taal mile and Khushi khushi kar do vida (Anokhi Raat, 1968).
He composed some melodies for the movie Mamta (1966) with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, "Rehte the kabhi jinke dil mein", Rahen Na Rahen Hum sung by Lata Mangeshkar and her hit duet, Chuppa Lo Yun Dil Mein Pyar Mera with Hemant Kumar. Roshan"s marked speciality was the Qawwali. He was known for the creation of hit qawwalies like, "Nigahen milane ko jee chahta hai", "Na khanjar uthega, na Talwar tumse, Yeh baazoo mere aazmaye hue hain"
Roshan had been suffering from chronic heart trouble for over 20 years.
Besides immediate family, Roshan left great admirers of extended family—Nagrath and Khokha family.