The songs composed by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant may vary from one another in terms of composition,music,style and mood,but the common thread binding them is their ability to inspire the listener. Its interesting then to note that this music director duo has sought to highlight environmental and social issues through their latest project. Their song Yeh mera India for Animal Planet,for instance,seeks to spread awareness about Indias biodiversity and the need to preserve it. Another single,Sati,talks about the still prevalent social evil where certain Indian communities force widowed women to jump into their husbands funeral pyre. This song was composed for an episode of Coke Studio @ MTV Season 3. It is a whole new side of us that our audience has not seen before; it depicts us as no different from the average Indian. We feel the pain and pressure every Indian is going through. Every time we switch on the news on television or pick up a newspaper,we see a new scandal revealed,a new uncertainty to deal with,and a new mess, says Sulaiman.
Yeh mera India has been sung by Salim,June Banerjee and Nandini Srikar in Hindi,Bengali and Tamil. The video showcases the scenic beauty of India right from the Himalayas to the wetlands of Odisha,and the Sahyadari ranges on Western Ghats to the Bandhavgarh forests in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. Rare species such as the lion-tailed macaque,mahseer fish,goonch fish,Malabar pit vipers,dholes and gharials have been featured in the video, says Sulaiman.
He also stresses that the music produced by artistes today is a reflection of the tension prevailing in society. We are doing our bit to preserve the natural heritage,which includes animals and forests in India,and the world. We also want to bring attention to unjust practices in our society and ask people to make amends, says Sulaiman.