A LIPSTICK WITH SHADES OF WOMEN EMPOWERMENT!! (LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA – Music Review)

Music Album Details
♪ Music by: Zebunnisa Bangash (Zeb)
♪ Lyrics by: Anvita Dutt
♪ Music Label: T-Series
♪ Music Released On: 14th July 2017
♪ Movie Releases On: 21st July 2017

Lipstick Under My Burkha Album Cover

 

To hear the full songs of this album on Saavn CLICK HERE

To buy this album on iTunes CLICK HERE


Lipstick Under My Burkha is an upcoming Bollywood film starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur, Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey, Shashank Arora and Vaibhav Tatwavaadi. The film has been directed by Alankrita Srivastava, and produced by Prakash Jha. I don’t think it is necessary to introduce the film to you; you’ve probably heard  lot about it, thanks to our beloved Mr. Nihalani. Without further ado, I’ll veer towards the music. The simple and short three-song album is composed by Zebunnisa Bangash (Zeb), who we have all heard singing many times before in Bollywood. But this is (I believe) her composing debut in Bollywood. So let’s give it up for her, and see what she has to offer in this women-uplifting soundtrack!


1. Jigi Jigi

Singer ~ Malini Awasthi

A ladies sangeet kind of song starts off the album, but of course, it has apt folksy vibes, considering that Zeb Bangash has composed it. It is actually an adaptation of a folk song by Haji Saifuddin, which Zeb had performed at the Sandaraa music concert in New York in 2015, a concert that was fronted by Zeb along with Brooklyn’s clarinet virtuoso Michael Winograd, which was a musical collaboration exploring a vast repertoire of South Asian musical traditions blended with the sounds and sensibilities of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and New York, according to the YouTube video that Michael Winograd has posted of this song. The Balkan flavour still appears prominent in Zeb’s Bollywood recreation of the song, but all the musician credits have changed, that is, she’s reworked the arrangements. First of all, the composition is a raunchy and catchy one, kind of like the songs from earlier this year’s ‘Anaarkali of Aarah’. The ‘Jigi Jigi’ hook seems like gibberish, or it could be something in Afghani, who knows, but it is catchy nevertheless. The composition traverses the sinister line of notes, and in befitting in such a strong film, which Anvita Dutt makes clear through her lyrics. What impresses me even more are the arrangements. The wonderful folksy sound that the rabaab (Siddiq Sameer), dholaks (Sharafat) and harmonium (Ankur Mukherjee) collectively exude, makes the song sound even more raunchy. The tambourine (Sharafat) gives a very unconventional rhythm throughout the song. There is a brief brass band (Shyam Raj & Friends) interlude that sounds like the only Bollywoodish cliché in the song, besides the harmonium, but still sounds great. The simple dholak-led rhythm is wonderful though. Malini is her usual folksy and raunchy self, and delivers the song with zest and zeal. A nice and folksy start to the album!!

Rating: 4/5

 

2. Ishquiya

Singer ~ Neeti Mohan

The next song in the album happens to be the only song which hasn’t been adapted from any other song like both of the other songs on the album. It takes the form of a retro, disco funk kind of song, a genre which really has seemed to have taken off quite abruptly in the past month or so, what with “Munna Michael” trying, and ‘Beech Beech Mein’ (Jab Harry Met Sejal) succeeding. This one is sung solely by Neeti Mohan, and that makes it all the more interesting somehow. Zeb’s arrangement is really sprightly, and light and frothy, something that instantly lightens up the ambience and mood. The composition is a lilting one, but perfect for the electrifying  music. There are crescendo notes all over the composition, and they make the song sound all the better, not making it he everyday retro funk song. Zeb makes the antara a bit more mysterious and suspense-holding, and sensuous. The drums and disco sounds have been done perfectly. You can’t really ask for a better done track. The backing vocalists help increase the intriguing feel of the song. The trumpets, guitars and occasional strings (what a surprise!) are amazing. The amazing arrangements are complemented very well by Neeti’s whispery voice, and she sets free of all inhibitions to render a no-holds-barred performance. Anvita Dutt’s lyrics seem situational, but they are functional nonetheless. A nice throwback to the REAL disco era, and not the Bappi Lahiri disco era!

Rating: 4/5

 

3. Le Li Jaan

Singer ~ Zebunnisa Bangash

For the finishing act, Zeb reprises yet another of her previous performances, this time, ‘Laili Jaan’ which she had sung at Coke Studio. The song was itself an adaptation of an Afghani folk song, and this one has the same composition, decorated with Hindi lyrics. The way it starts, you are instantly thrown back to the 1940s-1950s, the Charlie Chaplin era. And that effect is produced by Michael Winograd’s amazing clarinet. But Zeb retains the Afghani flavour by employing a wonderful rabaab (Siddiq Sameer) and accordion (Patrick Ferrel), making it sound a lot like the Balkan style of music, something that is so underdone and awfully underrated in Bollywood! More wonderful guitars and ethnic strings (Ankur Mukherjee), coupled with the drums (Kami Paul), throw in a modern touch. The composition itself is a sugar-coated raunchy one, exuding the folk feel as no other song ever did. It kind of reminds me of a couple of Vishal Bhardwaj’s songs from ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’. The hookline literally takes away your life, as Zeb sings “Le li le li le li jaan”, which means “You took my life!” 😍 The antaras are beautifully composed, reminding one of the wonderful 50s, when even Bollywood was heavily influenced by this kind of music, and it reflected in O.P. Nayyar’s music very highly. The treatment given to the song too, is highly unconventional, but it really wins your heart by the time it is over! Another clarinet portion ends the song on a bright and lively note for us. Anvita’s lyrics are cute and simple! A song that should serve as an example of how Balkan music must be done in Bollywood!

Rating: 4.5/5


Lipstick Under My Burkha is a short and sweet folk-oriented album that we hardly get to hear these days in Bollywood. Getting on board a composer from Pakistan herself was a great move, in order to get that folksy touch. The variety in the album is still so ranged, even though two out of three songs sprout from the same folk music. A disco funk song stands out among these folk songs as well, and all of them are unconventional in their approach. What’s most important, all the songs have been sung by women, and composed by a woman, which is so apt for the film. So the album is like a lipstick with different shades of women empowerment!

 

Total Points Scored by This Album: 4 + 4 + 4.5 = 12.5

Album Percentage: 83.34%

Final Rating for This Album: सा < रे < ग < म < प < ध < नी < सां

Note: The letter which is underlined is the final rating.

Recommended Listening Order: Le Li Jaan > Ishquiya = Jigi Jigi

 

Which is your favourite song from Lipstick Under My Burkha? Please vote for it below! Thanks! 🙂

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