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Exclusive Premiere: Salim-Sulaiman, Composer Marius De Vries Talk Music Behind New Disney Film ‘Spin’

The young adult movie directed by Manjari Makijany, stars Abhay Deol, Avantika and Meera Syal

Rolling Stone India Aug 30, 2021

Avantika as Rhea Kapoor in Disney film 'Spin.'

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The worlds of Bollywood, EDM and Indo-American identity collide in Disney’s new coming-of-age movie Spin, which centers around 15-year-old Rhea Kapoor (played by Avantika) and her journey to becoming a DJ.

The TV movie is the follow up project to director Manjari Makijany’s Skater Girl which released earlier this year. Compared to Skater Girl and its narrative of a child in rural India who takes to skateboarding, Spin is on the opposite end of the spectrum in portraying a typical Indian-origin American girl going through school and finding a way to break the monotony.

For the protagonist, that comes in the form of music. Helming the sonic direction of Spin are composer Marius De Vries (whose previous credits as producer, composer and music supervisor include La La Land, Kick-Ass and Romeo + Juliet) and music directing duo Salim-Sulaiman, who serve as songwriters.

In a featurette made to promote Spin, De Vries says, “One of the great opportunities getting to work on this film was to able to more deeply explore the world of Bollywood music.” He relied on Salim-Sulaiman in order to keep all the “Indian music flavors authentic” in the original music and soundtrack for Spin. “Building on their worlds musically was a bit of a challenge, since we weren’t at liberty to use any existing music. Even the incidental music, all of that had to be made from scratch,” De Vries adds.

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Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, mainstays in Bollywood, mention in their interview that their goal was to “blend so many different genres to create something.” Salim adds, “In Spin, the music literally plays a character. The music really tells the story.”

The story is one of creative crises and a reminder of one’s identity, as Rhea turns up at the DJ console in glittering traditional wear, ready to start a party with mixes that balance her Indian roots and modern dance music. “I actually learned how to DJ for the movie. It helped so much to get to know the basics and the theory behind beat-matching and how mixing music actually works,” actor Avantika says in the video.

Watch the featurette for ‘Spin’ below. Stream ‘Spin’ on Disney International HD and Disney+ Hotstar Premium.

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