August 26, 2002 
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Salman Khan
The real deal on Salman's Hollywood film
Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy hit a career high with Marigold

When they came in, they broke the industry norm of duo composers. The fare they offered was so appetising that their kind of music caught on immediately.

After Dil Chahta Hai, they have been in the public eye for all the right reasons. Even more so now when they have been signed on to compose for the international project Marigold, starring Salman Khan and a Hollywood actress (yet to be finalised). Produced by Hyperion Films, the film will be directed by Willard Carroll, of Playing By Heart, with Sean Connery and Angelina Jolie.

Apparently, Marigold will have songs like any other Hindi film. It is about a spoilt, demanding Hollywood actress who is stranded in India. Penniless and unable to return home, she takes up a role in a Hindi film, Pyar Bina Kya Zindagi.

Khan plays a choreographer who teaches Marigold, the actress, to dance. Reportedly, the film will be shot in Mumbai, Goa, Agra and Rajasthan. A production officer from Hyperion Films says, "We have always believed that Salman has a lot of untapped potential and needs a good director to exploit it. Examples are Sooraj Barjatya and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Our findings show that Salman appeals a lot to non-Indians. His personality is such that he can be paired with any foreign actress. He has also given a lot of valuable inputs during the scripting of the film. Writer-director Willard Carroll wrote the script with Salman in mind."

Lata Khubchandani met Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonca (Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy), composers of Marigold, to learn more about the project:

How did you land this project?

Carroll is a great fan of the music we scored for Dil Chahta Hai --- apparently, he gifted some 50 to 60 CDs to his friends. He was looking for a crossover sound and contacted us.

When did this happen?

Carroll met us about two months ago when we were composing for Subhash Ghai's Ek Aur Ek Gyarah. We did not know anything about him, so it was like a bolt from the blue. When we heard the project, we were very excited.

Tell us about the film.

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The film will be shot in English and Hindi. The English version will be shot first. Only the Hindi portions will be shot for the Hindi version --- apparently, the heroine speaks only English even in the Hindi version.

Salman Khan will play the male lead. In the film, he is based in India. Javed Akhtar will write the Hindi lyrics. The English lyricist is undecided, but it will all fall into place in the next couple of days. We will know who the heroine is in a month.

What will this do for your career?

We are composing for the international market this time. It will be good to have our music heard internationally. Though Dil Chahta Hai was not an international album, it was appreciated by people abroad.

We are a great juncture --- this whole crossover thing, our music for Dil Chahta Hai, all the scripts coming to us now, they are not your typical romantic comedies. So it is exciting.

What other films are you working on?

Harry Baweja's Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai, where we have introduced a few new voices. We are scoring for Farhan Akhtar's next film for which we will record in January, and Honey Irani's new film Armaan. We have finished recording for Armaan and we are waiting to mix it. It has turned out beautiful, and is one of our favourite albums.

There's a film with Dharma Productions and Yash Johar Productions, directed by Nikhil Advani. Then there's young filmmaker Apurva Lakhia's film.

We are also scoring for a film by a young filmmaker called Samir Karnik. His film has Vivek Oberoi, Aishwarya Rai and Amitabh Bachchan. That is exciting. We are working with all these new young filmmakers who come from non-filmi backgrounds.

Then there is a film with David Dhawan and Subhash Ghai, Ek Aur Ek Gyarah, with Govinda and Sunjay Dutt.

Coming back, when does Marigold take off?

We have to score the music between now and February 2003.

How different will your approach be for this film?

See, here we are composing for Hindi and English audiences. So we have to walk the middle path. We have to keep in mind the fact that Hindi lyrics with Western music sound very silly and English lyrics with Indian music sound absurd. So it has to be something that works for both. It is not going to be simple.

Ehsaan, Shankar and Loy What was the brief given to you?

Well we have been given the script and we are reading it to understand what is required. The songs are not your typical Bollywood kind. In that, they will be enacted but there are times when a song will be played for a minute or so then fades away. Then there is the background score. It has has to make sense to our audiences and to the international market.

It is challenging and we are waiting to sink our teeth into this assignment.

Have you zeroed down on any singers yet?

No it will depend totally on the compositions. But we are looking for fresh voices. We enjoy using new voices and roping in new talent, though that doesn't always go down well with our filmmakers.


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