Salim & Sulaiman Sing for Charity

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Salim & Sulaiman Merchant with Aziz Dharani (center).

By Vanshika Vipin

HOUSTON: On Sunday, November 16, Houstonians welcomed the musician brothers Salim and Sulaiman Merchant at the Arena Theatre. The show was organized and presented by Aziz Dharani, The Merchant Insurance Group, and the Aga Khan Foundation USA.

Salim and Sulaiman Merchant are brothers born in Bhuj, Kutch, Gujarat, India. They belong to an Ismaili Muslim family. As the sons of composer and a veteran of the film industry Sadruddin Merchant, Salim mastered the piano at the Trinity College of Music in London while Sulaiman took up tabla training with legends such as Taufiq Qureshi and Ustad Zakir Hussain.

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They emerged as popular music directors in 2003. They have been composing music for over a decade, to name a few Bhoot, Iqbal, Neal ‘n’ Nikki, Chak De! India, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Fashion, Kurbaan, Band Baaja Baaraat, Heroine and the latest Ungli. They have provided background score for various Bollywood movies and the latest being Krrish 3 and Bang Bang.

The duo got on stage and performed on most of their famous numbers, which the audience enjoyed very much. Salim Merchant was one of the three judges for the Fifth season of Indian Idol on Sony Entertainment Television (India). One of the season winner Vipul Mehta accompanied him and sang “Jalwa” from the movie Fashion. They paid tribute to Rajesh Khanna by singing “ye shaam masatani” and “pyaar dweewana hota hai” and also sang the song “Shukaranallah” from the movie Kurbaan, to which the audience waved their smartphone flashlights, giving an appearance of a sea of lights. Salim, stopped for a moment and spoke about a song, which they composed, for an organization called Mard, which is in collaboration with actor, director, singer, and producer Farhan Akhtar (who visited Houston in April for a charity concert for Magic Bus). The song focuses on women empowerment, “chhu le aasmaan, jaha ko jeet le, ” (touch the skies and win the world), gained a lot of appreciation from the audience, especially the women.

It was a concert for charity. Hundred percent of the net proceeds were pledged to go to the Aga Khan Foundation USA. The concert raised more than $65,000, which will be donated to the Foundation. It was a sold out concert well put together by all the organizers and volunteers. The musician team accompanying the brothers did great justice to the show and Arif Memon and his team at DMMS took care of the technical production.

At the end, Sugar Land Councilman Harish Jajoo presented the proclamation from City of Sugar land to the music duo Salim-Sulaiman. The organizers thanked the brothers and everyone for their support for the noble cause.