“Chak De has become an anthem. It’s a great feeling to be a part of a film that has become so big,” says Sulaiman Merchant of music composer duo Salim-Sulaiman who has composed music of films like Chak De India, Iqbal, Dor and Kaal. They also happen to be the first choice for designing the background score of some of the biggest films in tinsel town. Obviously they are excited about making Madhuri Dixit dance to their tunes in Yash Raj’s next Aaja Nachle. But there’s something unique they’ve attempted in Aaja Nachle that has never been done in Bollywood before. “In Aaja Nachle we have composed a 25 minute play written in nautanki style, something that small town people can associate with. It has been produced in new world, western theatrical style, the kind of stuff you get to see in Broadway or theatres in West. It’s produced and done in the same style. The sadness, the pain, the fights, everything has been told in a musical format. There were 9-10 singers and 7-8 actors who’ve dubbed their own voices,” Sulaiman said excitedly. This 25 minute play has been written by veteran theatre personality and actor Piyush Mishra (If you’ve seen the latest Greenply ad on telly, then he is the lawyer who’s asking for ‘suboot’).
Elaborating on the music score of Aaja Nachle, Sulaiman says that it’s not the typical “Madhuri numbers. It is one step beyond what Madhuri has done. It has a classical base with contemporary style. There are a variety of songs. There’s an English song, a slow song. There are a wide array of singers like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Sunidhi. The music releases on 18th October.”
Salim-Sulaiman have also been associated with Merchants of Bollywood, a musical choreographed by Vaibhavi Merchant that is all set to start its third season in various European countries. Incidentally, Vaibhavi has accused Morani Brothers of ‘stealing’ their idea for the much hyped Miss Bollywood starring Shilpa Shetty. “It’s a massive production. If we would have tried to play the music live then we would have required a 100 piece orchestra,” Sulaiman says.
The talented duo feels strongly about the penchant for plagiarism that is common in the music industry in India. “Our population is one billion, can’t we come up with something original. That’s so sad.” Sulaiman feels the duo would like to do quality films like Dor, Iqbal, Chak De India and Aaja Nachle rather than taking up too many projects. Their next few films include Roadside Romeo (Jugal Hansraj’s film, a joint production with Disney) and Cootchie Coothcie Hota Hai (Karan Johar’s animation film).