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Updated: August 24, 2013 16:53 IST

An ode to wildlife

Chirantan Khastgir
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Salim Merchant in New Delhi. Photo :Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
The Hindu Salim Merchant in New Delhi. Photo :Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Salim Merchant on his composition for Animal Planet

Commemorating the 67th year of India’s independence, Animal Planet is celebrating the country’s exotic wildlife through its month-long programming line-up “Yeh Mera India”. To mark the occasion, the channel has launched an animal anthem, epitomising the magnificent and spectacular wildlife of Indian subcontinent with its thematic lyrics. The multi-lingual song has been composed by eminent music directors Salim and Sulaiman Merchant and sung by Salim, June Banerjee and Nandini Srikar in Hindi, Bengali and Tamil, respectively. The anthem strives to remind viewers of the splendid creatures we share our planet with.

Excerpts from an interview with Salim Merchant:

How did you get this project?

Animal Planet approached us and we were very happy with the opportunity. Sulaiman and I had been involved in projects related to wildlife before. We had a worked on ‘Save the Tiger’ project, initiated by the government.

What were your primary motives while composing the song?

We wanted music which would be accepted nationwide, heard by one and all; for the children, the youth and everybody else. The music needed to be catchy, energetic and also convey a beautiful message in order to touch one and all. It is a very contemporary rendition with a meaningful message to back it up.

Did it require any special effort considering it is multilingual in nature?

When we do something, it is our responsibility to create something worth the hard-work going into it. In terms of the languages involved, it wasn’t very difficult, but yes it was quite a task.

Apart from this, what else are you working on?

I’m currently working on MTV Coke Studio, apart from which Sulaiman and I are also working on the background scores for “Satyagraha” and “Krrish 3”.

What drives you in terms of music?

I look up to the almighty, but coming to the people who inspire me, I would say Ustad Zakir Hussain and Gulzar sahib.

What are your views on popular Indian musicians collaborating with international artistes?

There have been collaborative projects on a global scale for some time now. We recently did one with Lady Gaga. We are constantly looking to collaborate with different artists. It feels good to see music transcend boundaries, and act as a common thread despite differences.

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