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Meet these brothers

The siblings, Manmeet and Harmeet Gulzar, were in town recently to promote their debut album, Boond.


From the land of Tansen: Manmeet and Harmeet Gulzar

MANMEET AND Harmeet Gulzar, better known as the Meet Brothers, showed extraordinary talent while performing in the City last weekend. The singing duo, originally from Gwalior, home of the musical legend Tansen, were here to promote their debut album, Boond, composed by Sanjeev Srivastava, that is all set to hit the charts with the track "Jogi Singh". The young, goodlooking siblings, who started their career in Mumbai seven years ago, sent the PYTs sighing as they performed at Planet M and Kapalua.

Manmeet and Harmeet (Monty and Harry to friends) studied in Scindia School, Gwalior, where they began exploring their talent in music and acting. Their talent got fuller expression when they came to Mumbai to pursue a degree at Sydenham College. They also had a stint at modelling and have acted in Hindi soaps such as Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kkusum. They passion, however, is singing.

In the last five years they have performed all over the country and have now released their first album. They have been doing intense riyaz under Pandit Sukhdev Chaturvedi.

Excerpts from an interview with the brothers:

Tell us about your background, how did you decide to take up music as a full time career?

Manmeet: We have been singing ever since we can remember. From the time we were really young we always sang and danced at all functions at home and school. When in Gwalior, we were spotted by singer Mahendra Kapoor. He suggested that we take up music as a profession. It was then that we had to choose which city to study in. We chose Mumbai since it would give us an opportunity to explore our talent. We started acting in college plays. Things just started to happen one by one and we ended up getting into music seriously, and finally cut our first album.

Harmeet: As a career in music takes time to take off, we decided to model and act to keep ourselves busy and get ourselves known. All throughout, though, music has always been our first priority and will continue to be so.

Going back to your birthplace, Gwalior, Tansen also belonged there and there is a legend about the tamarind trees near his tomb. The legend goes that students of music who chew the leaves of the tree in faith will be blessed with miraculous musical gifts. What would you like to say about that?

Harmeet: (Laughing) Yeah, we were also fed those leaves. But our other friends who also ate those leaves are still eating them and are now addicted to betel leaves too! It's hard work, dedication and a lot of luck that brings you success. Not merely listening to old legends!

What would you say is the main factor in becoming successful in the entertainment industry?

Manmeet: I don't think one can point a finger at one main factor. It is definitely a combination. To begin with, one has to be passionate about what one is doing, be it singing, dancing, or acting. Along with that, it is important to be committed and work hard.

Harmeet: And I would like to add that luck plays a very important role too. Being at the right place at the right time is what getting the right opportunities is all about! We didn't have a godfather, so it was harder for us. You can't always plan things. We planned to study in Mumbai, but things just happened for us. So there was definitely a stroke of luck in all that.

You started off by acting and modelling. By the time your debut album was released you were already known faces. Do you think being familiar faces helps?

Manmeet: It definitely helps. People are more interested in watching your music video on television or listening to you sing since they know your face already. I would say it has been a big advantage for us. Audiences can relate to you much more when they know your face.

Harmeet: The irony is that it was just a stopgap arrangement for us. We were acting to fill the gap until we were ready to make our own album. We didn't really plan it this way and imagine that it would help us so much. If you're a television serial actor you are branded as a television artiste, but if you're a singer and you make it big, you are known as a pop star. The title `pop star' is only given to singers and movie actors.

What are your plans now that you've released your first album? Are you thinking of venturing into movies?

Manmeet: It is every singer's ultimate goal to be a playback singer. We definitely want to get into that league and are working towards it. We are not considering acting in movies seriously because singing is our main focus.

Harmeet: It is important for us to remain focussed on our career in music and we will continue to work hard until we hit the big league.

It is not everyday that a brother or sister duo makes it big in music. What do you think have been your advantages being a pair of brothers who sing together?

Manmeet: I would say that the advantages are several. Our voices are very similar and that makes things easy sometimes. We can share responsibilities and divide work sometimes when there is too much to do. If I need to attend a meeting, then he attends a recording or dubbing.

But the biggest advantage is that it is unusual to find such pairs of brothers or sisters.

Harmeet: We look alike, have almost identical voices, and have excellent co-ordination on the stage. In our case, one plus one is not two but eleven!

SONIRA GULHATI

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