We work together because art speaks to us, not just because we are Pakistani or Indian: Zeb Bangash

We work together because art speaks to us, not just because we are Pakistani or Indian: Zeb Bangash

The Pakistani singer talks about composing songs for Bolly film 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' and working across the border
03 Aug, 2017

Zebunissa 'Zeb' Bangash has become a force to be reckoned with across the border.

The Pakistani singer's song compositions - 'Le Li Jaan', 'Jigi Jigi' and 'Ishiqya' - in controversial film Lipstick Under My Burkha have made her one to watch out for. In an interview with Indian Express, she talks about her treatment of the songs and where she gained her inspiration from.

"Since it was a story set in Bhopal and I come with some Pashtun heritage, I thought it would be nice to have Afghani elements in the fabric of the film's music. Alankrita (director) wanted to bring the old and new worlds together and see that tension in the story, which is why you hear a diversity of sounds. It has this whimsical quality to it, with the modern flavour in place," said Zeb of the Hindi version of her song 'Le Li Jaan'.

The song Laila Jaan was originally sung by Afghan pop star in the 70s, fast forward to 2013 and Zeb and her partner Haniya gave it a different spin on Coke Studio Season 6 with Rohail Hyatt at its helm. Now, it has a Hindi version in the Bollywood film.

Writer and director of Lipstick Under My Burkha Alankrita Shrivastava heard Zeb and Haniya's 'Bibi Sanam' on Coke Studio and found what she was looking for. "I had heard 'Bibi Sanam' from Coke Studio and knew that’s the sensibility I was looking for."

Zeb was instantly on board. "Alankrita had done her homework. For every song and every situation, she had a very clear idea of how she wanted things to sound."

With India's ban on Pakistani artists, Zeb believes art transcends all - even the risks involved.

"Bringing someone for you (in India) is a risk. Coming for us (from Pakistan) is a risk. We work together because the art speaks to us, not just because we are Pakistani or Indian," she said.

"And in that process, with artistic integrity in the background, you don’t even realise you are building bridges, or may be being provocative. That's because of your commitment to the art. Art itself is provocative. If you can keep yourself true to your art, within that moment, then truth transcends. And it will speak to people regardless of where they are from."

Zeb has previously worked on songs for Bollywood films including Katrina Kaif starrer Fitoor and Alia Bhatt's Highway.


Gabbar Aug 03, 2017 09:14am
India Pakistan shares common history, culture, foods, languages, appearance but unfortunately they are not unite. Because it may be absence of political will, border tension. I wish India Pakistan do an agreement India Nepal border, from which anyone travel either side only with a ID card.
sampath Aug 03, 2017 09:20am
A few years back saw Zeb, Haniya and their band performed in the southern city of Bengaluru to a packed hall and the music was very well received by the crowd. The songs sounded like something from a far off place (atleast a couple of instruments) yet familiar. Music can show the commanility of humans by transcending the external differences like religion, skin colour etc.
Udayan Mitra Aug 03, 2017 09:53am
Oh boy, another Pakistani that wants to come to India. When can we fully separate and go our own ways?
Himmat Aug 03, 2017 10:25am
Pakistanis should stop to look towards India for art and culture. Instead they should look towards Arabic or Chinese one.
bbupi Aug 03, 2017 10:25am
Past can't be changed but future can definitely be built.
nam Aug 03, 2017 10:52am
@Himmat ... correct, as i an indian i recommend that
Ahmed Aug 03, 2017 10:55am
@Gabbar no thanks.
Naeem Aug 03, 2017 10:57am
You work together because Indian and Pak Rupees are interchangeable into US dollars and that is something which is accepted across all borders. We ain't fools....stop dignifying your arguments by using heart wrenching cliches.
Gabbar Aug 03, 2017 11:22am
@Himmat good, but not easy as you say...