Interview: Salim and Sulaiman Discuss ‘Azaan’s’ Music

Salim and Sulaiman Merchant are a music direction and production duo with immeasurable talent. With countless Bollywood hits and now mainstream attention, is there anything these men don’t do? With all the excitement and travelling I managed to catch Salim and Sulaiman to discuss their music for Azaan and even a North American Tour! Check out my exclusive interview.

Salim and Sulaiman

Zaynah: Azaan is an international release that tells a story of global threats of terrorism which are provoked by religious misconceptions. What are some of the emotions you wanted portray in the music you have created?
Salim/Sulaiman: We kept our music very pure, and had a prayer-like quality in each song. Even the love songs have that element of devotion in them. We kept the songs slow and beautiful to bring out the emotions of the characters they represented.

You will find a great blend of emotions in our music, and with tracks such as “Bismillah” you find the Sufi overtones. The beautiful thoughts of love, peace and harmony is heard in “Khuda Ke Liye.”

Zaynah: Did you face any particular challenges creating this soundtrack?
Salim/Sulaiman: To break the fast paced action sequences and spots we had to create songs that were interesting and not so relaxed; we maintained the level of the energy and did not ruin it. We take on each project individually; we have built up a great understanding with the Director Prashant Chada who happens to be a dear friend, we understood what he wanted to present. We are quite happy and based on the response so far we think fans are going to love the music.

Zaynah: Is there a standout track on the soundtrack for each of you?
Salim: Aafreen and Bismillah it’s hard to choose
Sulaiman: Aafreen and Habibi Habibi

Zaynah: Shweta Subram is an up and coming artist in Canada and

Shweta Subram

you have had the opportunity to work with her. How was that? Tell us about the collaboration.
Salim/Sulaiman: We wanted to do something special and unique for the IIFA’s in Toronto. We thought let’s perform our music with some Canadian talent. Canada and the U.S. have such a large South Asian Community and this would be a great opportunity for us to involve them directly with Bollywood and show the rest of the world Canada is not only a great IIFA hosting country but Canada is a country which allows Our culture to flourish even if it is oceans apart from India.

Our friend Moh set up some tryouts for local Canadian singers and performers that would be able to sing our Hindi tracks, and he really recommended Shweta.

Shweta was so humble and really picked up the track well and took direction from us. She has a great attitude and of course her skills are also good. She was a great fit and performed so well. We love to give opportunities to new talent. But she really took this chance and did a great job and we were so excited and happy for her also.

We also worked with a local guitarist and a bassist as well, who were performing with our band live. Johnny Morello and Gian-franco as well as Mr. Shahid Alikhan accompanied us on the song “Bismillah.”

It was a wonderful experience and we were happy to share that with the world and especially at IIFA.

Zaynah: Got to ask…what’s next?
Salim/Sulaiman: Well you know we also just released the our soundtrack for Aazaan, Love Breakups Zindagi, and Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl which has kept us quite busy and we just recently got signed to complete 4 more films which you will be hearing of in the near future as well as a North American Tour in March 2012. Make sure you come and share the experience