Bollywood came to them when they were still concentrating on advertisement jingles, because sometimes it helps to be at the right place at the right time. Working in the same building as film director Sanjay Gupta, the brothers' work was overheard by the Bollywood director, who immediately signed them on to compose and record the theme of his 1997 Kajol and Saif Ali Khan-starrer Hameshaa. Before they knew it, Salim and Sulaiman had captured Bollywood's attention.
Today Salim and Sulaiman are among Bollywood's hottest music directors, and everyone is dancing to their tunes. By incorporating western, folk, Hindustani and Sufi influences to their music, the duo has managed to enthrall audiences across the world and not only keep up with the changing face of India's film industry, but also help redefine it.
When they aren't taking over Mumbai's B-town, they're composing jingles for television commercials of India's leading brands including Visa, Raymond and Pepsi; or producing albums for a long list of artists such as Adnan Sami, Voodoo Rapper, Style Bhai, Shweta Shetty and many more. The Indian audience also identifies television channel Sony and hit shows including Bigg Boss and Khatron ka Khiladi (Fear Factor) by the music created by this duo. They have previously been seen on many shows including Chak De Bacche (9X), Sa Re Ga Ma Grand Finale (Zee) and even been the face for Raymond Suitings. This year Indian Idol 5 puts them in the spotlight with Salim on the panel of judges in search for India's next singing superstar. If the fan following and regular additions to their awards list (Filmfare, Zee Cine, Screen, IIFA) are anything to go by, Salim and Sulaiman have earned the respect and adoration of both the audiences and the film industry in India. Winning an award at New York's Syracuse International Film Festival for Fashion..... nation last year for Nickelodeon USA's show Wonder Pets! only serves as proof of their immense talent and diversity as music directors in a worldwide context.
Sons of composer and veteran of the Telugu film industry in South India, Sadruddin Merchant, Salim and Sulaiman's love for music couldn't wait. While at school, Salim insisted on learning the piano, finally mastering it at the Trinity School of Music in London; Sulaiman took up tabla, and was mentored by masters such as Taufiq Qureshi and tabla prodigy Ustad Zakir Hussain. And the song may have come later, but three and a half decades back, in true Bollywood style: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
While the Merchants of Bollywood continually strive to create magic through their music, what's next is anybody's guess. Whether it's Bollywood, Hollywood, Television or Advertisements - you can be sure that it will command our attention. And the rest, as we aren't warned often enough, is the future.
Salim and Sulaiman have been composing music for over a decade having scored for movies like RAB NE BANADI JODI, FASHION, ROADSIDE ROMEO, IQBAL, DOR and KAAL to name a few.
Having worked on a wide range of genres they have developed a unique understanding of cinema and a keen sense of knowing when to score and when to leave silences depending on the performances.
The versatile duo has scored for a string of Bollywood movies, composed for several Indi-pop sensations including Viva, Asmaan, Shweta Shetty, Jasmine and Style Bhai among others, composed and produced hundreds of TV commercials.
Along with composing music for the film, the duo has readied their new state-of-the-art studio in Juhu that has been created in consultation with the well-known studio designer Andy Munro. The new studio in Juhu has facilities to record with a much larger orchestra.