Mehrangarh or Mehran Fort, located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is one of the largest forts in India. Built in around 1459 by Rao Jodha, the fort is situated 410 feet (125 m) above the city and is enclosed by imposing thick walls. Inside its boundaries there are several palaces known for their intricate carvings and expansive courtyards. Source
Mehran Fort was the site chosen to shoot the music video by the creative team behind #YaKhuda (O God) song which was originally released couple of months ago on the occasion of Eid ul fitr 2019. Video directed by Shwetabh Varma and DOP by Sam Mohan beautifully captures the majestic Mehran Fort.
“Ya Khuda’s music video has been shot at the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur. Since the track has a strong qawwali vibe, we thought it would be great to get a historic site to shoot at, so we finalised Mehrangarh Fort,” Salim Merchant. Source: Times of India
While shooting the music video at Mehrangarh Fort was the first for Salim-Sulaiman, this also was the first time Merchant brothers collaborated with popular Swedish R&B singer Maher Zain. Salim-Sulaiman decided to collaborate with Maher about 8 months ago.
“It’s interesting that he also wanted to work with us. Maher and his team came to Mumbai. We played Ya Khuda to them and they loved it,” says Salim. Source: TOI
More on Maher later.
Whenever a new song or the music video of the song is released, people in general tend to like or appreciate the star (deservedly so) in front of the camera while People behind the scenes don’t necessarily get the well deserved acknowledgment. For the song Ya Khuda, acknowledging the production work done by Raj Pandit is a must!
Raj Pandit is that X factor who has made a solid contribution in making Salim-Sulaiman a “global” brand in the music world. Son of Bollywood filmmaker Ashoke Pandit and classical and folk singer Neerja Pandit, Raj is slowly but steadily making a name for himself in Bollywood film industry. Raj humbly gives credit for his success to Salim-Sulaiman for their mentorship.
“It’s incredible to have people like them to mentor you. They never make you feel like you are working for them, it’s always about working with them.” Source: TOI
For the song Ya Khuda, Raj got the opportunity to infuse two different genre (Qawwali and Trap) into one.
Being someone who has grown up listening to #Qawwali and grown into loving #Trap, it was such a thrill to bring these two musical influences together while producing on #YaKhuda. Thank you sirs Salim – Sulaiman for making me a part of this beautiful collaboration, with the amazing Maher Zain. source
It is NO secret that for a song to be a “hit” which stays in your memory for the longest time, combination of great tunes along with strong lyrics is a MUST! For the song Ya Khuda, this holds true. While the melody is exceptionally strong, Hindi/Urdu lyrics specially written by Kamal Haji is outstanding! Kamal’s words hold you strong. You connect with the words instantly. Combination of Hindi/Urdu lyrics written by Kamal and English lyrics written by Dhiren Garg blend flawlessly.
Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, multi-platinum artist and songwriter Maher Zain is now the most popular Muslim artist on Facebook and the most viewed on YouTube with an incredible 5.8 billion views.
Maher’s family emigrated from Lebanon to Sweden when he was eight. After university, he worked with the Swedish producer, RedOne. It was after this period that Maher fully embraced his role as a singer songwriter — combining contemporary R&B music with Islamic themes. He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists including Mustafa Ceceli, Atif Aslam and Sinan Akçıl. Maher has performed in over 35 countries and continues to be passionate about the power of music in bringing communities together. Source
Occasion of EID and Salim-Sulaiman Music
For fans of Bollywood movies, occasion of Eid brings with it a new movie release by megastar Salman Khan. For the longest time, release of Salman Khan’s movie during Eid has become sort of a norm, a tradition in India.
Salim-Sulaiman seems to have followed that lead on music side of things with Ya Khuda being their latest release on Eid.
“Every year, we release a devotional song on the occasion of Eid and we try to be different every time. In 2016, we worked on a song with Abida Parveen ji, called Noor E Ilahi, which is in the qawwali space. Last year, we did a song called Padharo Mawla with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Jonita Gandhi, Raj Pandit and Vipul Mehta. It has different voices and we gave it a group feel. Four years ago, we did a song called Allahu Akbar.” Source: TOI
This new trend of releasing “feel good, joyous” music on occasion of Eid set by Merchant brothers has been widely appreciated by the fans and other celebrities alike.
Audience reaction after release of Ya Khuda (Twitter)
“The cultural heritage of Islam has long embraced musical language as an elemental expression of human spirituality. Listening to music, practicing music, sharing music, performing music – have long been an intimate part of life for Muslim communities across the world, as has been the chanting of devotional and historical or epic texts.” His Highness the Aga Khan- March 2019, Lisbon, Portugal Aga Khan Music Awards
Ya Khuda is a song on surface level, but it is much more than that. Including Maher Zain in this collaboration is the living proof of how Music is universal. Music builds bridges. Music brings people together regardless of one’s religious belief or what language one speaks. This is more than just a “song”. This is a global message of love, unity, pluralism, and oneness of GOD.
Post by Irfan Ali. Irfan is a systems engineer by day and blogger by passion. Originally from Chicago, Irfan is currently residing in Toronto, Canada.
Follow Maher Zain: http://www.youtube.com/MaherZain
Follow Salim-Sulaiman: https://www.youtube.com/user/SalimSulaimanMusic
Follow Raj Pandit on FB: https://www.facebook.com/rajpandit17/
Follow Kamal Haji on FB: https://www.facebook.com/KamalHajiMusic/