Item numbers and the hip-shaking of Bollywood babes

Sipping Gossips with Goher Iqbal Punn


Item songs – this is the term that is simply loved by the top notch female brigade’s of Bollywood these days. Every other heroine of the filmdom whether high profile or low profile – all want to grab the opportunity of shaking the hips on these numbers.  Today Item numbers add sparkles to your film career and whoever does them bluntly going upwards. Interestingly, the lass, who dolls up the item number, begins charging the huge fees after the song gets popular among the masses.

I remember, it is not an old talk – just few years back, the leading Bollywood heroines used to consider the item songs as a ‘big  hate’ for themselves, if any filmmaker brought the offer mistakenly to them. Those days whenever I asked any film actress or even the models about their interest of the item numbers in movies, they skipped the question by not giving any values to it. At that time, the low profile actresses or the models (who were roped in to shoot for these songs), who did these numbers, were labeled ‘item girls’. The famous item girls of that time were Rakhi Sawant and Mumaith Khan. Even there were many others as well but these two were the hot bombshells, who were seen more in the songs than the rest of the brigade.

The scene turned all at once throwing these item girls out of the frame altogether when the biggies of the trade started to be roped in to do the item songs. The big credit went to Aditya Chopra, the famed filmmaker of Bollywood and the son of the brilliant producer-director Yash Chopra, who convinced Aishwarya Rai to do an item number for his film, ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ in 2005.

Although some of the heroines were seen before Aishwarya doing these types of songs but a true breaking the ice happened by the world’s most beautiful woman and the former Miss World turned actress Aishwarya Rai who shook her legs on the much hummable and supremely popular song, ‘Kajrare Kajrare’. The song was sung brilliantly by the seductive voiced singer Alisha Chinoy with Shankar Mahadevan and Javed Ali. It was a qawwali number written creatively by the legendary genius filmmaker cum Urdu poet Gulzar and composed by the trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

The song was picturised on Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan. It was the biggest hit ever that it is still widely popular among the Hindi music lovers.

Aishwarya Rai’s move gave the safe room to the leading Bollywood actresses to doll up the item numbers. Soon after Aishwarya’s Kajrare, Dia Mirza did an item number ‘Kajra Mohabbat Wala’ for Sonu Nigam’s album. The song was utterly on the lines of Aishwarya’s Kajrare in style, theme and picturiastion. Like Rai’s Kajrare, Dia’s Kajra too fetched huge attention of the audiences. Both beauty queens shook the sexy bodies on the item numbers and the Hindi cinema industry grabbed a new trend to fire the time and tested formulaic item girls out of the scene and bringing in the top notch actresses shaking legs on item songs. It was a fresh breeze in the cinema industry without any doubt and this formula clicked to the fullest that it has been going on till today.

Today we witness the leading Bollywood babes dancing to the beats of the item numbers. Every other top heroine and the model of the fashion world would love to be signed in these songs to show their dancing skills. From Aishwarya Rai to Katrina Kaif to Kareena Kapoor, Malaika Arora Khan to Mallika Sherawat to all – every babe likes to jiggle the bodies on these tracks, which are once restricted only for the extra girls (whom the filmmakers did not consider for worthy film roles or acting).

The trend of leading babes’ joggling the hips on the item songs got more strengthened after the blockbuster successful the numbers – Munni Badnam Hui and Sheila Ki Jawani. These two songs were supremely hummable, laced with electrifying foot-tapping beats-boisterous poetry-magical execution and the sexy babes’ impeccable dance performances.

Both of these songs hit the jackpot and due to the popularity of these item numbers, the movies (which carry these songs) too made the record-breaking business (except Tees Maar Khan).

Malaika Arora Khan’s Munni Badnam Hui was the record breaking successful number that not only got her hugely popular in the entire world but also shoved the movie (Dabangg) to super heights. The flick turned out to be the biggest blockbuster of 2010. Malaika’s hip shaking dance movements were loved to watch by the moviegoers. From a kid to a youngster and even to the oldies were found humming it around. Even the term ‘Munni Badnam Hui’ started to be used everywhere. Malaika’s fees for doing a song has soared sky high and it was learnt (from sources) that she began asking for more than 2 crores for a song in movie.

Farah Khan specially designed an item number ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’ for Katrina Kaif in Tees Maar Khan, in which Kaif also played the leading role. The song turned out to be another big hit after Munni Badnam Hui. It even broke the records of Munni making Katrina’s already giant popularity more high in the entire world. Katrina’s curvy body movements and skin-show in the song made the people crazy. The film dropped at the box office but the song emerged the jackpot-hitter.

Then the trend of heroines’ asking for the item songs turned out to be a fashion in the filmdom. I was told by the Bollywood insiders that the leading ladies instructed their managers to ask the producers for the item numbers since the item songs were leading the film ladies to the heights of success. No doubt they were right and it is still the same.

Mallika Sherawat then did another successful item song ‘Jalebi Bhai’ for Double Dhammal. Her dancing movements in this song simply lured the audiences.

The PR companies and the PR managers for the celebrities too are the reasons of promoting this trend among the filmmakers and the masses since they promote the films and the female celebs in this manner. I always get and have been receiving a number of press releases by the PR companies and managers regarding these kinds of promotions.

The question is whether this trend is good and should be acknowledged or not, the fact of the matter is we all love it.


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