Salim - Sulaiman,Mumbai
Brothers Salim Merchant and Sulaiman Merchant ('Salim-Sulaiman' as they are populary known) are fast becoming the most sought-after film composers working in Bollywood today. After a decade composing soundtracks, they recently hit the big time with the movie Kaal, written and directed by Soham and produced by Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan.
Working from their newly setup Mumbai studio 'Blue', where their production company is based, Salim-Sulaiman compose music for films, stage shows, pop stars (including Asmaan, Dhol Foundation in the UK and Karsh Kale in the US) and commercials and regularly work as musical arrangers for classical tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussian. The brothers admit they live and breathe music spending up to 14 hours a day in the studio, thinking, talking and dreaming about it the rest of the time.
Born in 1970 (Sulaiman) and 1974 (Salim), the brothers grew up in a musical home. Their father Sadruddin Merchant was a music director and composer. Moving to Mumbai in the 1960s, he opened a manufacturing unit and also importing musical instruments. His sons were always surrounded by a vast array of different instruments and took lessons from a young age. They studied classical Indian music at the Trinity College of Music in Mumbai, learning tabla, drums and other percussion.
Salim also plays keyboards while Sulaiman focuses on percussion. They also sing.
Salim-Sulaiman started their career in the theatre whilst still in their teens. The door to Bollywood opened in 1997 when they were working on an advertising jingle. Director Sanjay Gupta, who was working on a film score in the adjacent studio, heard snatches of their music each time the door opened. Fascinated by what he heard, he made a point of meeting the brothers. Impressed, he offered them work on his film 'Hamesha' for which they scored the background music. Their song 'Neela dupatta peela suit' from Hamesha became a hit and Salim-Sulaiman have never looked back.
They have composed the music for numerous films including Ram Gopal Varma's 2003 blockbuster thriller 'Bhoot' from which the song 'Bhoot Hu Mein' reached number two in Canada and the US, and number five in the UK. Other cinema highlights include Varma's Ab Tak Chappan, Kunal Kohli's Hum Tum and Sanjay Gadhvi's Dhoom. Besides a host of Bollywood films, they composed two songs for the 2003 German film 'Gate to Heaven' directed by Veit Helmer.
Salim-Sulaiman's film work has won them many awards including Screen, Filmfare Awards (Best Background Score) for several films.
They are currently working on songs and background scores and songs for several Bollywood movies for major film production houses in India.
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