Interview with the Merchants of Music: Salim-Sulaiman3 min read
Manipal: The musical duo of Salim Merchant and Sulaiman Merchant have become cult figures since their entry into Bollywood as music directors. They have been composing music for over a decade now and their hits include songs from Fashion, Chak De India, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Kurbaan and many more. The duo have also collaborated with international singers for the 2010 FIFA anthem and recently worked on a Bollywood remix for Lady Gaga’s songs ‘Born This Way and ‘Judas’.
Salim-Sulaiman performed live at KMC Greens on January 22 as a part of Atharva, the annual international B-School fest of T.A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI). TMJ caught Salim Merchant exclusively for a short interview just before his performance.
Excerpts from the interview:
How are you feeling about your first-ever performance in the student town of Manipal?
I’m really feeling good. I think the enthusiasm of the crowd and the people has been phenomenal. The concert has been hyped well and people are talking about it on Facebook and other social networking sites. We are really looking forward to this show.
You made your television debut as a judge on Indian Idol 5. How was your role as a judge on the show?
I think every person has to go through changes and it’s a very good thing that I got the opportunity to judge the show. Indian Idol is a very big platform for young singers from all over India to come, perform and give auditions. I think it was a good experience being on the panel to get the right talent from all across India.
You recently collaborated with American pop singer Lady Gaga and the FIFA anthem in 2010. Tell us about the experience of working on these collaborations.
I think this is just a beginning. There are many Indian singers collaborating with international singers. Even we have been fortunate to collaborate with different talents of the world. We are planning to collaborate with lot of singers, different bands, artists and orchestras and in the coming year. You’ll hear from us very soon.
India doesn’t have a music industry as such. What we have is Bollywood, that’s becoming bigger day by day. Do you think this needs to change?
I think it is changing already. When I say we don’t have a music industry and we have a film industry, I don’t say it with pride. I say it with grief and it’s a sad thing that we don’t have a music industry. Just like America, the way they have both a film industry and a music industry which are individually very powerful, it is time India also has one. There is so much of talent that you get to see like different bands, folk singers, rock singers, electronic artists and DJs. There definitely has to be a different platform apart from films. So, I think it’s about time that something happens, because there is a lot that is going on. Hopefully, we will see a considerable change very soon.
Which one is more popular according to you? The duo of Salim-Sulaiman as music directors, background score makers or music performers?
I think it’s a combination of everything. More than being directors, composers or background score makers, it is also important to be good human beings. That I think is a good quality in us, that we try by staying humble and keeping our feet on the ground.
Sub-edited by: Vrinda Manocha