Salim and Suleiman Merchant perform at Chembur Gymkhana Club – exclusive interview

Chembur Gymkhana club recently hosted the talented musician brothers Salim and Suleiman for Royal Stag MTV Unplugged concert and Mumbaigloss got an opportunity to be a part of that sensational musical evening on 7 December. Not only that, I got an opportunity to meet the fantastic Merchant brothers who have been touring the world spreading cheer through their timeless music. I asked them a few questions and here are the excerpts of the same.

Salim Merchant, Suleiman Merchant, Salim and Suleiman

MG: Thank you Salim and Sulaiman Merchant for talking to us. Can you briefly tell us about today’s show?

Salim: Today’s show is based on MTV Unplugged. It is a very old concept which is in its 4th season. We have recently shot for the same program and this show at Chembur Gymkhana club is the extension of the same. We are glad to perform for the Chembur Gymkhana club members and invitees.

MG: It is our privilege to see you perform here. I am glad you guys came to my neighborhood. How is it different from composing for movies?

Salim: Performing on stage requires a completely different energy. It is a different game altogether. When you are composing a song in the studio, you don’t really know what it’s going to sound like. What it’s going to feel like. You don’t know if the audience is going to like it, not like it, hate it. There are so many emotions that come through. But when you are on stage, you already know that you fans love these songs; there is a mad rush when we go out there. We give them a lot of love, and we get thousand times more love.

MG:  I agree. We love to see you perform live. So what gives you more excitement? On stage or studio environment?

Salim: Honestly speaking, both have their own merits and demerits. I can’t really say which one is better. It’s like having two kids and comparing which one is better. Can you actually pick one? You can’t. It’s exactly like that. Music composition, music by itself is amazing. It’s by itself part of our well-being, our lives and making music in the studio is as special to us as performing it live. I can’t really pick one.

MG: Where all have you performed live before this show?

Salim: We have been performing at many places live, like yesterday we were in Pataya, a day before in Kolkata, prior to that in Goa, etc. We have recently come back from America tour.

MG: Phew! That’s a lot of travel. I am sure your fans are happy all over the world. Which songs are you going to perform today?

Salim: All our favorites! Shukaran Allah, Ali Maula, Chak De India, Aivayi Aivanyi, Kurbaan Hua, O re piya from Aaja Nach Le, also a recent song we composed for Coke Studio, called Bismillah, Maula Mere le le meri jaan.  Also, Choo Le Asmaan which we have recently composed with Farhan Akhtar on Women Empowerment under MARD campiagn.

Salim Merchant, Suleiman Merchant, Salim and Suleiman, Chembur Gymkhana Club

MG: Thankyou! Which is your personal favorite amongst all these songs?

Salim: I can’t pick any one song. All of them are good in their own way. But if you insist, I will pick Yeh Hosla Kaise from the movie Dor.

MG:  Wow, that’s a beautiful number. Very empowering! Recently, you have been promoting internet literacy for women. What is your take on that?

Salim: I think it’s a very noble cause. It’s a very good idea to get women online so that they can explore entrepreneurship opportunities online. Ladies, who don’t have infrastructure for a big business can use online portals to generate business leads, use e-commerce to have online income. Online is such a nice, comfortable market place, you can work at your own pace, and especially for housewives, small entrepreneurs who don’t have or don’t need the infrastructure you can advertise online and generate business.

MG: Indeed! More power to that! Bollywood EDM is convenience music because a lot of mixing happens and a lot of technology is used but you do not use such techniques and do not mix sounds which are a norm these days. Any particular reason why you don’t like to use it?

Salim: Bollywood is a very large portal. It has a mix of Sufi, it has a mix of EDM, it has a mix of hip hop, and a million other things. But when it comes to me and Suleiman, we always try to make a good song than making a hit song. We want to create music which has a timeless quality. So if you listen to our songs which are like 5 years back, they still sound fresh, good because we made them with that timeless feel. And we hope that we continue to make such music with timeless quality.

And after this short interview, both darted out with a lot of enthusiasm to perform at the Chembur Gymkhana Club. I loved their show. Songs from Fashion are my all-time favorite. Which one is your favorite number from Salim and Suleiman? Do leave a comment below.

About MumbaiGloss

Parimita Chakravorty is an author, blogger, features writer and a communications specialist. She has written for various popular magazines and websites related to beauty, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle, including HAIR India, Femina.in, BeBeautiful.in, Hello, etc. She has also contributed to various youth blogs and magazines. Her book ‘Look Stunning At Any Size’ has been well appreciated and received by the readers. Currently, she is part of India’s leading IT brand and takes care of their internal communications. Parimita is also working towards bringing awareness about Endometriosis in India; a silent epidemic which is consuming a lot of lives. She manages a page ‘Endometriosis India Files’ where patients discuss their condition and diagnosis.
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